Community pitches in on Giving Tree supplying presents to more than 80 kids in need

Volunteers prepare to transport presents from the Ridge Athletic Clubs into cars to be sorted at Thrive.

BOZEMAN- The Ridge Athletic Clubs celebrated their 12th year of the Giving Tree by asking the community to help out kids in need of some holiday joy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With help from nonprofit Thrive, the Ridge handed off gifts gathered from their Giving Tree to supply 85 kids in the Bozeman area with over 170 gifts for the holidays.

Thrive’s Business Partnerships Officer Brittany Eilers said the people who took ornaments off the Ridge’s Giving Tree bought both a ‘need’ and a ‘want’ present that kids in the community wish listed to double the holiday joy.

“Everybody needs clothes and shoes and socks, but really the kids are going to get super excited about having games and toys and things that just light up their faces,” Eilers said. “This represents a community coming together for the holidays to make sure that children across the community have a better Christmas.”

Ridge Athletic Clubs’ Owner Steve Roderick said they started the tradition by first asking schools in the community if there were any kids in need of gifts for the holidays.

The Ridge has put up their Giving Tree every year since 2008 after Thanksgiving and this year all ornaments were plucked off the tree.

“Whether we’re part of the Ridge or any other part of the community, we’re looking for ways we can help out and it’s just a great opportunity for a lot of people… I couldn’t be prouder of our staff, and our members, and our guests in the community,” Roderick said.

In addition to presents, the community and Ridge members also donate emergency gas, grocery and phone cards for Thrive families.

At last check, Thrive said they gathered just under $4,000 in monetary donations and just over $2,000 in gift cards.

More information on Thrive can be found here.

More information on the Ridge Athletic Clubs can be found here.

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