'Tis the season to give, and for the last eight holiday seasons the Town of Hotchkiss and the Hotchkiss Marshal's Office have demonstrated the spirit of giving by providing the gifts to the area's children and their families through the Secret Santa Program.
Last week, local families in need received a bag packed full of gifts including food, clothing, outerwear, blankets, toys and gift cards. Families are nominated for the program by members of the community. All items are donated or purchased new with money donated to the program by local organizations and individuals, and by the town. Town employees also volunteer time, and Hotchkiss employees and council members often donate their holiday bonus City Market gift cards to the program.
In the last seven years almost 70 families have benefited from the program. In 2014, nine families and a total of 22 children received gift bags, and this year another five families received a gift bag. All gifts are wrapped and delivered to homes by Santa, who made this year's deliveries last Friday night.
On Saturday, Santa Claus listened to the wishes of area children and posed for photos during the annual Santa Visits the Hotchkiss Fire Station event. The event was attended by about 350, and 11 smoke alarms were given away, according to fire chief Doug Fritz.
Each child is given a holiday bag of goodies or stuffed animal. All photos are posted in high resolution to the Hotchkiss Fire District webpage for all to see and share.
"Santa Visits the Hotchkiss Fire Station is one of our most successful events each year," said District public information officer John Sell, "and the one we at Hotchkiss Fire look forward to the most."