Teens craft cradles for Christmas Basket

Project builds connection between high school, community, teacher says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Several local high-schoolers are giving back to the community through their woodshop classes. Placer High students are making 50 wooden doll cradles for the annual Auburn Area Christmas Basket Program distribution day Dec. 18. The Auburn Area Christmas Basket Program is a nonprofit organization that gives 500 families in need two weeks’ worth of food, Christmas dinner and toys every year before the holiday. This year Christmas Basket volunteers will be distributing items, including the cradles, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 18 in the armory building at the Gold Country Fairgrounds. This is the second year Matt Conley’s woodshop class is making the cradles, and Conley said the project is a positive way to get the teenagers connected to the community. “I think it’s great to get young kids involved in community service, so they get used to the idea that they are part of society,” Conley said. “And when they go out into society they will return these favors in their adult lives.” Students used a computer numerically controlled router to mechanically cut the pieces of the cradles and will be assembling them by hand, Conley said. The cradle-making process started in early November, and Conley plans to have the students assemble them next week. The project really made an impression on some students last year, Conley said. “It really helped a couple young men get themselves excited and get them through high school,” he said. “It’s been a great project for us, and it’s always good to get involved in the community.” Junior Lance Burton, 16, said he was looking forward to making the cradles for a second year. “They are fun to build, and it is good to give back to charity,” Burton said. “I think it’s a good gift. It’s a nice cradle to play with.” Sophomore Kelsey Taylor, 15, is making the cradles for the first time this year. Taylor said she thinks the project is extremely important for children in the community. “Kids that don’t have a lot of things, this is a big thing for them,” Taylor said. “And they are fun to make, so it’s not a problem at all.” Taylor said she thinks it’s valuable for high school students to be involved in community events. “It’s definitely important, because it gets you focused on doing something good instead of doing bad stuff,” she said. Junior Dylan Maunder, 17, said he thinks this project is important because it helps the unfortunate. Maunder said this project may inspire him to get involved in more community events in the future. Victor Macy, chairman of the Christmas Basket Program, said residents could place donations in the red barrels located around town through Dec. 13. Families in need can call (530) 888-3750 for information on applying for donations. Macy said the organization plans to collect food from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday in front of the Safeway on Bell Road. Macy said there several things he enjoys about the Christmas Basket Program. “One, everything that is given to the program stays in the community, and No. 2, the smiling faces and the tears the day of (distribution),” Macy said. Macy said the high-schoolers’ help in making the cradles is a very positive part of the program. “They are able to supply the labor and learn something along the way, so I think it’s really great,” he said. “You can see the smiles and the pride they have as they see the finished product go out the door (on distribution day).” Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------------ Applying for Auburn Area Christmas Basket Program donations Deadline: Applications must be received by Dec. 10 Where to find applications: Applications are available at the following locations: The Placer County Department of Health & Human Services, 379 Nevada St., Auburn (Reception Area); KAHI Radio office, 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn; The Auburn Interfaith Food Closet, 2985 Richardson Drive, Auburn; Placer County Library, 350 Nevada St., Auburn, and The Auburn Journal, 1030 High St., Auburn.