$50K donated to Blessing Baskets fund

Kohl’s helps community group during pandemic

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From left, Laci Austian, Stan Kirchgessner, district manager, Kara Pelton, Yukon manager, Yaruby Ochoa, Donna Dyer, Jemina Robinson, Shelly Allison, Michele Hard and Jessica Mejia. (Photo provided)

By Ray Dyer
El Reno Tribune

Early November was a hectic time in El Reno.

A late October ice storm had left thousands without power and tree limbs were everywhere. Children were home because there was no power and COVID continued to play havoc with schedules.

Although Donna Dyer’s home had no power and her grandchildren were with her that day, she was able to make a scheduled video conference call over her cell phone.

Dyer said she had no idea how happy she would be that the video call was able to connect.

“I cried and could barely speak when they surprised me with the news Blessing Baskets would be receiving a $50,000 donation,” Dyer said. The call came from Kohl’s A Community with a Heart program.

Dyer said it could not have come at a better time with so many families needing help.
“Many families have been affected by the pandemic, businesses have had to close, many are without work or their incomes were reduced, children are home from school and there are many needs out there,” she said.

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Thanks to the donation from Kohl’s, Blessing Baskets was able to help hundreds of families in need.

“We are truly grateful for this generous donation from Kohl’s as well as to all of our partners and supporters who through their time, talent and treasure make this mission possible.”

Kohl’s Yukon store manager Kara Pelton said she was so excited Kohl’s selected Blessing Baskets out of several other Oklahoma organizations that were up for the grant.

El Reno Blessing Baskets Inc. helped more than 500 families and approximately 900 children this Christmas.

Pelton said Kohl’s Yukon store employees are frequent volunteers, helping Blessing Baskets in the past through their Kohl’s Cares program.

“The Yukon employees put in a good word for Blessing Baskets and were so excited to see Blessing Baskets receive the $50,000,” Pelton said.

The funds came at a critical time, Dyer said.

“God is so good, in 2019, we raised $40,000 at our annual Festival of the Trees, Christmas in July fundraiser. However, in 2020, we did not have the fundraiser due to COVID-19, although the needs were still there. The Kohl’s grant is a true blessing.”

The donation was made possible through the Kohl’s Cares program, which sells children’s books and toys and donates 100 percent of the net profit to charitable organizations across the country that improve the health and wellness of families.