The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Angel Baskets and Angel Tree Program


December 1, 2021

This Christmas 16 families in Big Sandy will be blessed with a merrier Christmas through the work of the Angel Basket Program. Angel Baskets provide families in our area with groceries, a gift certificate, ham and beef roasts, and sometimes (in years past) turkeys. The program is also associated with the Angel Trees, which provide gifts for kids in the families of basket recipients. For children who are not taken care of by gifts through Angel Tree, the basket program purchases gifts. The program is of particular importance this year, given the financial strain of these unprecedented times.

The Angel Basket Program is one of the activities that the Chouteau County Women's Club sponsors every year. The committee itself runs the program. According to the committee, the program has been in place since 1995. The Big Sandy Food Bank began its involvement in distributing the baskets to the local community in 2016, though the distribution of food baskets began before then. This year, the Chouteau County Angel Basket Program is meeting the needs of 77 families throughout the county. They are providing food for 212 people, 66 of whom are children. In Big Sandy, the total number of recipients is down four families due to families moving or simply not applying this year.

If you are interested in purchasing gifts for the children of families associated with the program, you can visit the Angel Trees at First Bank of Montana in town, Fort Benton Pharmacy, Lehman's True Value, Studio Salon, Joyce Fuel and Feeds, and Golden Triangle Brewing

Company. The Angel Trees have tags with needed items so you can donate. Gifts that need to be purchased are attached to the trees. The tags and any donated gifts will be picked up on December 9th. There will also be a food drive in Fort Benton for the program on December 12th. You can also support the program through monetary donations. The baskets will be distributed on December 15th.

Angel Basket applications are made available in September and are due November 1st, which gives ample time for the committee itself to gather and prepare to distribute the needed supplies.

Local residents in need who did not complete Angel Baskets can reach out to the Big Sandy Food Bank for assistance. Our local program distributes special boxes for the Christmas Season. Specifically you can talk to LeaAnn Williams, Terry Grant, or Erik Sietsema. Typically, the Food Bank meets the needs of locals beyond those who are taken care of by the Angel Basket program.

Over the past few years, the local food bank has experienced an outpouring of support and blessing from the community. More and more volunteers are coming forward to assist in all sorts of ways. On a number of occasions, folks who have moved into town and received short term assistance, then recommend others for assistance. The Elementary School runs a food drive to help assist during the Christmas season. In addition, the program has received donations from various grants (including The Town Pump Charitable Foundation Grant and the Chouteau County Department of Public Health and Human Services). These grants have been split evenly between the food banks in Fort Benton, Highwood, and Big Sandy.

The Big Sandy Food Bank would like to offer appreciation to the community for donating time, money, and food. We would not have the programs we have without your support. If you or someone you know needs support, please contact the food bank (LeaAnn Williams, Terry Grant, or Erik Sietsema).


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