Volunteers and members of the Single Mothers Outreach organization handed out Easter baskets to single mothers and single fathers at Cross Point Church in Valencia on Thursday.
Dozens of baskets were laid out onto tables and were organized into two categories, baskets for girls and baskets for boys. Each included candy, chocolate, stuffed animals and a toy. Each child was able to pick up one basket of their choosing.
SMO organizer Stephanie Salcedo said that she believes the whole operation was a success and that it’s always nice to have a good turnout to these types of events, but that the gratification comes from elsewhere.
“I think the excitement of Easter and kids being able to get something just for them, that sometimes our moms aren’t able to afford something as simple as an Easter basket…it’s just a way to make them feel extra special,” said Salcedo. “I think it’s been great and we have an amazing community that’s been able to donate to us, which we absolutely love.”
The mothers receiving these baskets seemed to be very thankful for what SMO was doing and were not shy about saying it.
“It means a lot. I appreciate it very much and the kind people that take the time to do this for like other people that don’t, not that they don’t have enough, but it’s kind of like hard at the time, during the pandemic and stuff,” said A.J., a single mother of two from Long Beach. “It makes the kids happy. As long as the kids are happy, it makes everyone else happy.”
“I think it’s really great, everything that Single Mothers Outreach does for all the kids honestly,” said Monica Soles, also a single mother. “It’s really important to me because sometimes you feel like you’re alone. When you come to these types of events, you realize that there’s so many other people that are going through things just like you and when you all come together, you know, you don’t feel alone anymore.”
The roughly 100 Easter baskets were initially collected at the SMO office in Newhall and were donated from different businesses, including Bank of America branches in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. To help set up the distribution, students from local high schools also joined in such as Mia Tomilin, a junior at Valencia High School and member of the school’s Associated Students board.
“It’s really fun actually, like, I’ve never done this before. And I think it’s really cool to see, like, all the little kids pick out what they want,” said Tomilin.