By Roché Vermaak
Executive Director of Family Promise
Families received some early Christmas cheer with help from Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley during its holiday shopping event held recently at Valencia United Methodist Church.
Some 173 families and 646 people were served.
The event assists low-income and/or homeless families in Santa Clarita who need a little help during the holiday season, said lead organizer Olga Zapata. “We had over 200 volunteers sort, unpack and hand out donations.”
Donations were provided by individuals, schools, groups and businesses in the SCV.
It included toys, clothing, bedding, cleaning supplies, toiletries, socks, underwear, pet food and school supplies.
Pharmavite provided vitamins, PetSmart donated stuffed toys, the Sheriff’s Department collected toys, SCV Santa allowed kids to take a photo with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, and face painters lit up faces. Families won raffle prizes and gift cards as well.
“We served 112 more people than in 2018, mostly through word of mouth and referrals from the five school districts,” said Roché Vermaak, executive director of Family Promise. “The holiday season is a tough time for struggling families and our community rallied once again to make it brighter for children. Rent is rising, wages are stagnant, and low-income families are affected the most.”