Auburn Area Christmas Basket brings dinner, smiles

Local business-owner coordinates effort for 20 years
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Ninety red barrels, 3,000 pounds of potatoes and a crew of volunteers are all dedicated to a common purpose — making Christmas better for Auburn-area families in need. The Auburn Area Christmas Basket, which has been coordinated by Macy Transportation and Sierra Cab for the past 20 years, provides two weeks worth of food, a Christmas dinner and gifts for children. Victor Macy, president of the companies and chairman of the Auburn Area Christmas Basket, said he first got involved when his son was a Cub Scout. Later, he took over the program. He said his background in transportation gave him the knowledge to run the fundraiser efficiently. “We give people two weeks worth of food and Christmas dinner, all the fixings to make a meal, toys for the kids. We have a limited amount of bicycles to give out,” Macy said. The non-profit organization helps over 550 families in need each year. Macy said it is run in conjunction with help from businesses all over the city and other services groups, like the Auburn Host Lions Club and Knights of Columbus. All of the work culminates on Dec. 17 when distribution takes placer at the Gold Country Fairground Armory Building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Macy said it’s seeing “the smiling faces and tears of joy” that makes all of the hard work worth it. Pip Stoutenbeurg, a member of the Auburn Host Lions, said his organization is responsible for the donation of more than 3,000 pounds of potatoes. “One of our members used to be in the potato business and he set up the contacts,” Stoutenburg said. “We have older volunteers, so now we have a forklift.” Monday, the Auburn Host Lions gathered with the other volunteers to unload trucks full of donations. Manuel Ferreira, of Auburn, a retired farmer and member of the Knights of Columbus, is in charge of the 90 red collection barrels placed at businesses around the Auburn-area. Many members of his family also volunteer. “We put the barrels out on the 14th of October, hoping we would get more donations that way,” Ferreira said. “We have 10 routes.” Ferreira said he is always happy to see peoples’ practical needs met by the program. “It helps the less fortunate in our community and it gives them a Christmas dinner and two weeks of food,” Ferreira said. Reach Sara Seyydin at