December 14, 2017
Thanks to the generosity of CSA donors and volunteers and an amazing staff, the children of 331 low-income families will enjoy a wonderful holiday season complete with incredible toys and gifts. The agency’s annual toy distribution was held this past weekend in our conference room that was transformed into a magical toyland by the “elves” at Young, Craig and Company. Additional families will continue to select toys and gift cards throughout this week.
New this year was a focus on securing donations of toys and gifts for children and teens, ages 9-18, as well as gift cards. “This age group tends to be overlooked in traditional holiday toy drives so we decided to try a new approach,” says Volunteer Coordinator LaDrea Clark. “We were thrilled with the community response. We received so many wonderful gifts for older children and teens, and parents were delighted to have gift card options so they could go out and purchase the perfect gift for their kids.”
Each family was also given a gift card to use for household needs and the opportunity to pick up their holiday groceries from the Food & Nutrition Center (FNC). “So many of our clients work multiple jobs to support their families and keep a roof over their heads, and it is very difficult for them to come to the pantry during regular working hours, says Case Manager Eonis Cibrian-Pelayo. “They really appreciated being able to select toys and receive food at the same time and were so grateful on so many levels. Many did not want to accept the family gift card offered because they felt they had received so much, and one person thanked us for ‘not making her feel small.’ I was in tears.”
CSA’s Holiday Sharing Program – which includes the toy drive and holiday food distribution – requires much behind-the-scenes coordination, with planning beginning early in the year. “We review last year’s numbers, identify what we need and where we need to make adjustments and determine volunteer roles and assignments,” says FNC Coordinator Christine Flego. “With so many families coming through this past weekend, we have a good handle on what to expect for the remainder of the holiday season. One thing we know for sure is that there are more people than ever looking to CSA to help feed themselves and their families.”
CSA’s holiday food distribution continues through December 22. Volunteers are especially needed to help in the pantry and to shop for our senior clients. To help, please contact LaDrea Clark at 650.964.4630 or [email protected]. To make a monetary donation to help sustain our programs and services, please click here.