Well done everyone. The Spirit of Christmas was on full display Sunday December 10th at our annual Holiday Celebration Service when over 1,550 Toys and $9,000 in gift cards and cash were given to Bay Area children in the foster/adoption system and to children in underserved communities around the Bay Area. Bill Freeman from the Samaritan House shared, “Your gifts really help our families feel the spirit of Christmas. Because of your generosity, many families have toys. It’s wonderful that your members give a part of themselves to the families. It’s the true Spirit of the Holiday.”
This year marks our 10th anniversary collecting toys for children. The previous nine Toy Drives brought over 15,000 toys and tens of thousands of dollars worth of gift cards and cash to be distributed by numerous agencies representing thousands of children.
Fidelia Arrizon from the Mental Health Association of Alameda County said “It reduces a tremendous amount of financial stress for low income families during the Holiday season.”
This year representatives from 10 agencies were on hand to receive toys:
- Amber Ackerman from Parent Voices of Oakland
- Carolyn Valrey from the Oak Center Cultural Center
- Anita Inman and Rodney Clark from A Better Way Foster Adoption Agency
- Jaqudea Jackson from DeFremery Park Community Center
- Allison Massey and Fidelia Arrizon from the Mental Health Association of Alameda County
- Toni Burruel from the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
- Hector Ramos from Horizons Youth and Families Support Services San Francisco
- Evan Jones from the Mid Peninsula Boys and Girls Club
- Bill Freeman Board President of Samaritan House of San Mateo County
- DJ and Stacie Larson representing the North Bay Fire Victims
Agency representatives were overwhelmed and moved by the generosity shown these children. The holiday can be a lonely and difficult time for many of them. Receiving a toy for a child or a gift card for a teen can ease the challenges they often face and let’s them know they people are thinking of them.
Amber Ackerman summed it up well: “We give our kids the gifts at our annual Holiday party. It’s the highlight of our party and we have Santa pass them out. It’s nice to know that our children are receiving a variety of gifts. Without these gifts, we don’t have the funds to make this party what it is.”
Big hearty thanks to all the agencies and their representatives for participating in our 10th annual Toy Drive. You are heroes to us and the children you represent. A huge thanks to all of you who participated by bringing toys, gift cards or cash as well. You are heroes to the these representatives and the kids they serve.
To all the heroes on Sunday December 10th, Thanks for making our 10th annual Toy Drive a huge success. We can’t wait to do it again in 2018.