Grand Junction Woman Collecting Donations in Memory of Fiancee
Mindy Gonzales started Brian's Christmas Baskets in 2018, after her fiancee passed away. It was extremely hard to spend the first holiday without her loved one, which is why she decided to collect donations every Christmas.
When Mindy met Brian he was homeless, and Mindy says because of the way that he took care of himself, you had no idea he was homeless. Since he experienced it Brian really wanted to give back and help the homeless community and they always planned to. This was where the idea came from and Mindy turned their plans into a reality by creating Brian's Christmas Baskets.
Mindy collects essential products like toothbrushes, razors, and shirts in hopes of making homeless people feel more comfortable. She told us that the necessity of the baskets is so essential because self-care and taking care of yourself is essential to mental health so when people feel confidents about themselves it enables them to focus their energy elsewhere.
She's been collecting donations for Brian's Christmas Baskets for three years now and is pushing to get her 501(c)(3) status. Mindy wants people to be comfortable donating and for them to be able to write off their donations.
Mindy has seen a lot of growth in the last three years with Bryan's Christmas Baskets. The first year, her goal was to put out three complete Christmas baskets with items like:
- Toothbrush + toothpaste
- Mouth wash
- Razor + shaving cream
- Comb, soap, shampoo + conditioner
- Something warm to wear
She told us that she advertised Brian's Christmas Baskets at a local coffee shop and on social media and it took off immediately. In the first year, she put together 75 baskets and handed them out to the homeless at a local park in Grand Junction. They also gave them any additional products that they donated like dog food and feminine products.
Mindy had so many people asking about it, that she had to bring it back the second year. The second-year she partnered with The House and had three different donation sites instead of one. They spread into surrounding counties and ended up with 81 baskets. She also created a 'foster family basket' which has lots of cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and other essentials in it.
in 2020 Brian's Christmas Baskets has been so successful that she has grown all the way to Denver. Mindy says it's been an interesting year and there have been a lot more people contacting her about parenting with her and creating more donation sites.
Mindy really wants to push to become a 501(c)(3) so people feel more comfortable working with her and donating. She describes Brian as such a warm person who took pride in whatever he was doing. His go and get it mentality inspires Mindy, and she knows that if you want to change something, You work on yourself and people first and the rest will follow. It's amazing what Mindy is doing in Brian's memory.
If you're interested in donating to Brian's Christmas Baskets, you can contact Mindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.