Street Sights presents a Humanitarian Award to The Happy Basket Program located at the Cumberland Senior Center, the monastery, at 1464 Diamond Hill Road. The Happy Basket Program serves Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to people in need. People receive a letter for the Happy Basket through welfare, churches, and school. Some can walk in and ask for a basket, they just need to have an I.D. and live in Cumberland. The Happy Basket Program served approximately 650 Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets this year.
I asked him how he got involved with the program, John answered. Johnston got involved in the Happy Basket Program after working with the Adopt-a-Family program in the 1980s. In the 1990s he worked with Anne Brown, now retired from the Senior Center to start up the Happy Basket.
“We never know if we’re going to make the quantity needed or not. But by some miracle we do it,” said John Johnston, from the Happy Basket. “It always surprises me. Every year we worry, but when that day comes we’re okay. It’s great to watch happen. You have to have faith in the program. We have great volunteers and donors. Their loyalty is great, and I think the world of them.”
“It may be a lot of work but it’s worth it, Johnston said. “Knowing that it’s making a difference in someone’s life is a great thing to see. To get to see the face and smiles is amazing.”