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DENVER -- More than 5,000 seniors received a basket with fresh fruit, candy and a holiday card last year, but the baskets will not be going out again.
Volunteers of America announced in an email that the Basket of Joy program delivered its last baskets to seniors in 2017. The email thanked volunteers but did not say why the program was ending.
Speaking to Denver7, vice president of marketing and development Michael James said the program was ending not because of issues with funding, but because the organizers who kept it going for so long wanted to retire and noe one stepped to take over.
"I'm very sad. I got the news by email from Volunteers of America and I said, 'I understand,' but I cried," said Woody Paige, one of the founders of the Basket of Joy program and a former columnist for the Denver Post and TheDenverChannel.com.
James also said it was also difficult to coordinate the fruit delivery and find donations with a growing number of nonprofits competing for funding.
Basket of Joy started back in 1988 with an idea to spread holiday cheer to seniors who are homebound and often spend their holidays alone. The baskets are delivered by volunteers right before Christmas.
VOA encouraged any past volunteers to adopt a new holiday project in 2018 by visiting their website for a list of other ways to give back.