More than 70 families received holiday blessings thanks to food and toy drives organized by Pueblo West schools and the metro district parks and recreation department.

Students from District 70’s five Pueblo West elementary schools and two middle schools as well as students at Swallows Charter Academy started in late October collecting canned goods. The elementary students also collect toys.

Food baskets were delivered to 65 families “who are encountering some tough times,” during the Thanksgiving holiday, said Carol Cosby, parks and recreation director. At Christmas, 180 children from 70 families, were given gifts, so each child received at least three gifts each.

Christmas food baskets also was delivered to 66 families.

“We would like to thank our wonderful community for stepping up to the plate and giving back to their neighbors,” Cosby said. “A big thanks goes out to the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Pueblo West who brought two truckloads of food by the parks office and gift cards for each family.”

“Members of the community volunteered their time to wrap over 540 gifts. There were so many volunteers that they were spread out throughout the rec building to wrap — it was totally awesome,” Cosby said.

“Everyone seems to have the idea parks and recreation is just about sports. This is so misconstrued - our department offers so many exciting things to this community and is always striving to do as much as we can with the little we have,” Cosby said.

Cosby said the programs are made possible by the giving businesses, service organizations, schools and volunteers who work together to make it happen.

Twitter: @tracywumps