CIRI in the Community

CITC Christmas Gift Basket Program

Photo by Wayde Carroll.

Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s (CITC) Christmas Basket program ensures families residing in Alaska’s Cook Inlet region have access to a brighter, happier holiday. The annual program provides gift cards and presents for low-income families and features a Family Holiday Celebration, complete with games, crafts, refreshments and photos with Santa.

The event is usually held in CITC’s Nat’uh Service Center, but the building suffered severe damage during a Nov. 30 earthquake and was forced to close its doors. CITC staff then had to scramble to find a location to assemble the Christmas baskets and hold the holiday celebration, which was scheduled for Dec. 8.

One of the major advantages to living in Alaska is the sense of loyalty; at no time is this more obvious than during times of crisis. In the wake of the earthquake, people banded together to help each other out. In CITC’s case, Alaska Communications made its warehouse available for the holiday celebration, which was attended by more than 600 families. Together, CIRI’s Board and staff, along with a company match, raised $15,000 for the Christmas basket program. Many others— including BP, Bering Straits Native Corp., Cook Inlet Housing Authority, Southcentral Foundation and the University of Alaska Anchorage—have provided space and other logistical support.

“I want to offer my gratitude to the individuals and organizations that have reached out to CITC after the earthquake,” said CITC President and CEO Gloria O’Neill. “Our community partners immediately responded by offering support, temporary space and other resources for CITC programs and services. Because of the generosity of our partners, CITC services have been able to continue with little interruption.”

CITC staff have set up temporary offices in locations throughout Anchorage, and the majority of CITC departments and subsidiaries are operating at 100 percent or near complete service. Employee capacity and participant services have resumed at some level across all departments.

For more information about specific programs and services, visit or visit CITC’s Facebook page.