Blomstedts give back during the holidays with ‘Pack the Sack’
A few years ago, John and Deb Blomstedt were thinking about ways to use holiday funds on something other than presents for family members. Deb explained, at Christmas time there was really nothing they needed.
“What we wanted, we could go out and buy for ourselves; the same was for our children. We knew there had to be a way to use the money we used to spend on presents in a better way,” said Deb.
The first year, Deb said they hosted a holiday dinner at the Montgomery County Family YMCA, where all were welcome.
“We had about 80 people that participated,” Deb recalled. “Some were small family groups; others were in town visiting family who were in the hospital.”
There were plans for a second holiday dinner, until COVID-19 hit and changed the project.
“There was no way we could do a sit-down event.”
Instead, Deb and her husband, John, reached out to schools, churches and the local food pantry and asked for names of families that could use assistance over the holidays.
What the Blomstedts would do is bring an unprepared holiday meal to those in the community that are in need. The program name thus changed to Pack the Sack.
“Our goal initially was to make 25 bags of food items for a holiday meal for those who need it. Each year we’ve reached 36 bags by the time we finish.”
With the program growing each year, Deb said the goal this year is 36 sacks.
“So far we have been fortunate enough to receive donations from Live Well Montgomery County, the Red Oak Kiwanis Club and the Red Oak Ambassadors,” said Deb.
She added the only requirement,besides being in need, is being able to come pick up the sack.
“After I receive a list of names, I personally contact each family to see if they want to participate,” Deb said.
Helping the Blomstedts pack the sacks each year are friends and extended family.
“We feel blessed we can do this in the community and that we get such wonderful support.”
Contact Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are in need of a holiday meal sack. If interested in donating, there are drop boxes at the Montgomery County Family YMCA and the public library.