As we have highlighted so many times this season, Santa Clarita comes to the rescue this time of year, to make the holidays possible for those less fortunate. However, to see it up close is an entirely moving experience.
I could write all I want about how much good it does to extend gratitude, and how good it will make you feel, but it would all get meshed together as sort of an “Oh that’s nice” kind of moment.
So I take you to the Single Mothers Outreach office yesterday afternoon. Realtor Pam Ingram had donated her moving truck for the day, and it was jammed full of brightly decorated boxes.
In each of the large boxes, presents abounded and an array of everyday items such as toothbrushes, dental floss and even quarters for the washing machine filled every nook.
Helmers Elementary School PTA had joined with Single Mothers Outreach to designate over 50 families for the program, 99% of which are low income. Then each class at the school received a box with a family’s name on it and a packet that detailed the specific needs for that family. How many children, what gender they were, what they wanted for Christmas, all questions had been asked of the families beforehand by Brook Bambrick, Chair of Helmers Helping Families.
Parents and their children could then sign up for items on the list, and donate to that family. In addition, the children of Helmers took their goal very seriously, holding Read-A-Thons for sponsorships to the cause.
When all was said and done, and the truck was unloaded, families started showing up to receive their boxes.
I was expecting a quote, something really hard hitting that would truly paint a picture of how much this meant, but I found that the family’s stunned silence was the most accurate portrait. They would see the boxes, talk to the volunteers, and just break down in tears.
I think they cry because these women aren’t helpless. They aren’t slovenly, or delinquent, they’re just trying to build a life for their families. One of the women I talked to was about to graduate from a nursing program. She was all alone in raising seven children, and she was working two jobs just to feed them. Now she gets to give each of them a gift or two, and have as normal a Christmas as possible.
Another woman was fighting cancer, and up until this program, Christmas wasn’t an option for her children.
So they cried. Volunteers cried. Not because they experienced “The Joy of Christmas,” but because a lot of people worked very hard to make their lives normal on a day everybody wants only that.
I can’t begin to explain the power of humanity in that parking lot yesterday made possible by Helmers Elementary, Parent Volunteers, Single Mothers Outreach, and the brave women who strive to provide a better life for their children against all odds.
Several businesses in Santa Clarita donated goods or money to the cause, and they are: Home Depot, Lowes (who made it a point to donate $15 more than Home Depot), Starbucks, Box City, Mathew’s Storage, Lia Sophia Jewelry Representative Lisa Griffin, and Dr. Siu’s dental office.