Times were tough in 2009, but once again the Eagles' Ladies Auxiliary from Post #4181 delivered.


"There are more baskets going out this year," member Beth Batts said about the holiday boxes packed with food and gifts for local needy families.


In fact, the Hesperia-based group provided enough items for 38 families. Altogether, 73 children and 91 adults benefited the assistance.


The teams of volunteers gathered early Tuesday morning to assemble the food items turkey, canned vegetables, Farmer John sausage, eggs, cereal and more.


"Basically it gives the breakfast, lunch and dinner," said Mickie Neitzel.


Before the families were ushered into a large room at the Eagles post containing the items, the team of spirited women made final arrangements.


"It has to be a team," Batts said.


"We're sisters," added Chris Wirtz. "We have to work together."


"Everybody does what they can," said Candy Clein, who serves as Auxiliary chaplain. "We're all enthusiastic. We all want to help."


Despite the hard work of the Auxiliary, members were quick to applaud the public for their assistance. A toy drive in front of Kmart, which was organized by Brandy Wagner, a #74 Stater Bros. employee and Auxiliary member, helped collect toys for the youth. And while the Auxiliary donated the bulk of the food items, some food was donated by public donors.


"We want to thank the public for their generous donations," said Veronica "Ronnie" Martinez.