It was crowded in Kim Thorne's house on Thursday, Dec. 5, but that's to be expected when you're delivering gifts to families all over Kearney.
The Kearney Family Foundation had 130 volunteers that day helping sort, wrap and deliver presents to 110 families throughout the community. These families received food, clothing, toiletries and other necessities they requested from the foundation.
Thorne said aside from a new database and a decrease in families that submitted applications for assistance this year, nothing had really changed from last year.
"We're down families," Thorne said. "I don't know if people didn't get forms or or if people are doing OK."
Volunteers were also fed that day, with fried chicken and sides from Big V Country Mart.
"They give us a good deal," Thorne said. "We feed everybody. A lot of people get here at 6 in the morning, and Mojo's donated hot cocoa and coffee today. But we feed everybody. We want people to come back."
At about noon that day, the process of wrapping the gifts had hit family No. 74. Deliveries of the gifts began at 3 p.m., and the last delivery took place at 5:45. For many volunteers, it was a 12-hour day.
Jon Bowers, a five-year veteran of the wrapping day, said he got involved because he works with Thorne's husband, Steve.
"It's helping people less fortunate," Bowers said. "It's one hard day's worth of work, and you just work hard and move stuff and hook up 110 families with a bunch of presents and food and toiletries. It's just awesome."
Bowers' role in the process involved moving food from one garage to another. The food is then paired with a family's presents, which are laid out on a grid.
It was estimated that one person would move 1,000 boxes if that person was there all day.
"That's essentially what we have going on. It's an assembly line, and every year we learn a little bit more and we kind of adjust," Don Woehrman, a seven-year veteran, said.
Woehrman said he keeps coming back because he enjoys helping the community.
Prior to delivery, the gifts needed wrapping. In the basement of the Thorne house, sprawled out of tables and the ground were people with wrapping paper and tape. Marlo Howard, who's helped out two years in a row, was wrapping a skillet set for a family.
"I think it's very important for community support and to help the people that need help, and it's just a wonderful foundation they have here," Howard said.