After a slow start this morning, the Bob Telmosse Giveaway had a steady stream of takers this afternoon at 117 W. Vermijo Ave. downtown.
The giveaway of toys, clothing and food usually draws from 8,000 to 10,000 people, but Karen Sorrick, a board member with the Bob Telmosse Foundation, said she doesn't know how many people had shown up today. They don't count, she said.
"I'm guessing we're going to hit that when the day is over," she said.
Sorrick was overcome with the ourpouring from the community, noting that Skyline Potato Co. of Center donated 12,000 pounds of potatoes, and a trucker volunteered to go fetch them from southern Colorado. A local auto dealership provided 70 coats. Care and Share food bank helped provide apples, pears and bread. Community members donated 750 turkeys. The Southern Colorado Beading Society donated 550 pieces of jewelry that are chosen by children as gifts for their parents. There even was a wrapping station staffed by volunteers.
Speaking of volunteers, the event can't survive without them. It drew 250 volunteers who signed up ahead of time and roughly 75 to 100 who just showed up, she said.
The entire event was put on by a six-member unpaid board without a paid volunteer coordinator this year, Sorrick said.
"We just went out and worked our tails off and the community responded," shes said.
The giveaway was held near downtown at the old Crissey Fowler Lumber Yard building, which was donated for the event, including utilities.
Sorrick, a 22-year volunteer at Penrose-St. Francis Health System, rubbed her tired eyes, saying she'd been up since 4 a.m. and had worked nonstop on the event the two previous days.
"It's been phenomenal," she said.