Hope Unlimited joined the list of organizations hoping to fill in the gap created when the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program took a hiatus this year in Mesa County.
The Hope project began in 2009, providing food, gifts and gift cards for more than 40 families in need. The organization asks businesses and other organizations to adopt a family for the holidays. Hope delivers each family groceries for a holiday meal and one item of clothing for each member of the family.
One business that responded this year is a familiar name when it comes to philanthropic efforts.
Lisa and Loren Mullen, owners of Rocky Mountain Sanitation in Grand Junction, adopted a family and encouraged their employees to join in the effort. All of them pitched in. They include Lisa’s future daughter-in-law, Mattie Charlesworth, who’s engaged to Gunner Mullen.
“We’ve always tried to do something like this during the holidays,” said Lisa Mullen. “And we encouraged our kids to help.”
Mullen received an extra good feeling after she told her children that money spent on the adopted family would be subtracted from the dollars spent on the Mullen children. The message didn’t deter the Mullen children from shopping for the adopted children. “We couldn’t stop them from putting things in the basket,” Lisa Mullen said.
Her children — who also include 15-year-old Destiny and 12-year-old Magnum — learn other lessons as well as they earn money by working at the sanitation business. They also see the company contribute to various organizations outside the holiday season.
“Our philosophy throughout the year is we donate to the community,” Lisa Mullen said. “It makes you feel good.”
While many businesses have curtailed or eliminated charitable contributions in the wake of the Great Recession, Mullen’s business has not. “We did not drop our level of contributions,” she said, adding she feels fortunate she’s able to continue to donate to local organizations. Those groups include Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado and the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.
“I just think it’s important for everyone to do what they can,” she added.