Sign up for Stella Wells Christmas Baskets is just around the corner, and those wishing to apply need to be aware of the changes made this year due to the pandemic.

“The school district, (USD) 503 is sending out information to elementary school parents next week, so they will get their information next week,” sign-up coordinator Kelly Kirkpatrick said. “The ones for the public, we are doing call-ins only. There will be no walk-ins at this point.”

Labette Community College is allowing the Stella Wells organization to use their facilities to handle the call-ins.

The telephone number people will be able to call to order baskets is 820-1152. Call-ins will be accepted from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 23-24. If any of the 700 baskets are still available, calls will be accepted on Nov. 25 as well, also from 9 a.m. to noon.

“We really encourage people to call in Monday and Tuesday if they can,” Kirkpatrick said.

No call-in applications will be accepted before Nov. 23. The number provided is actually a number at the college, so no one from Stella Wells will be available if people call before the scheduled dates. 

Basket pick-up will be on Dec. 19 at the old Sutherland building, 2110 Belmont Ave.

“We’re still kind of working out the details because we’re still kind of learning from Labette Assistance Center when they do the commodities distribution, what worked for them and what hasn’t, so picks will start that morning, probably about 9 a.m. We’re hoping not to run past noon or 1,” Kirkpatrick said. “We’ll stay there till we get it done. It’s quite the undertaking.

“We’re asking people, if we have to get 700 baskets out, to consider carpooling, pooling resources with friends or family, so one car can pick up for three families, helping cut down on the traffic and helping volunteers. That’s definitely going to be important this year,” Kirkpatrick said. 

If people are picking up for others, they will need a proxy note, giving them permission to do so.

Stella Wells is trying to do its best to give people as much of a contactless experience as possible, including delivery people.

“We’re making sure that they don’t go into people’s homes. We’ll be requiring all of them to wear masks,” Kirkpatrick said. “People who are having delivered to their homes will need to give directions when they call in as to where they want the basket left, like on a front porch or a side porch.

“We need to make sure people know it’s perishable and nonperishable food in there, so if someone is dropping that basket off at 8:30 in the morning, making sure there is someone there to take care of that frozen turkey and that dozen eggs and the meat and stuff in it.”

Volunteers are still needed the week leading up to distribution to actually fill  the baskets, and then the day of distribution, lots of volunteers will be needed  in the parking lot and close to the street to help direct traffic and then people in the building helping get cars loaded and directed through.

“Dave Winchell is handling all of that, all of those volunteers,” she said.

Anyone wanting to volunteer can call Winchell at 778-8873.

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