Lots of homemade cookies and candy are needed to fill nearly 400 Christmas Cheer Baskets that will be delivered Christmas Eve to senior citizens and shut-ins in Sandwich.
The Cheer Baskets are part of the Franklin Mall Christmas Project, started in Sandwich about 60 years ago by the late Frankie and Peg Mall. Peg would make the goodies. They’d pack the treats into plastic baskets, wrap and tie them with colorful ribbon, then Frankie would deliver them while dressed in his Santa Claus suit. Peg made that first suit using her pedal sewing machine.
That was before senior housing and nursing homes were located in Sandwich, when older folks were living in their own homes and apartments. Frankie would drive around, park in front of each home of an elderly person, and walk to the door in four-buckle overshoes while ringing a cow bell or a leather strap of sleigh bells to alert the resident that Santa was on his way.
Clubs and homemakers began making cookies and candy, and others became Santa Clauses to assist over the years.
When Mall’s health began to fade, he asked the Sandwich Lions Club if it could take over the project. The club agreed to do so as long as the community continued its support.
Now, containers of homemade cookies and candy are delivered on Christmas Eve by a team of six Santa Clauses to homes, to Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion, Sandwich Rehabilitation Center/Ironwood, the Sandwich Manor, and Valley West Hospital.
Homemade candy and cookies can be dropped off at the home of Pat Wallis, 305 S. Wolfe St., Sandwich, where they will be stored or frozen to keep them fresh.
Volunteers are invited to help pack Cheer Baskets at 6 p.m. Dec. 22, at the United Church of Sandwich, 512 E. Lions Road, Sandwich, across from Sandwich High School.
For more information, call Kyle Wallis at 815 786-8789; Pat Wallis, 815 786-8095; or Michele Farley at 815 786-8086.