In coordination with almost 10 other organizations, Coco Moms of Santa Clarita provided more than $5,000 in aid to a single mother of 12 just in time for the holidays.
Much of the aid items were necessities – a new washer and dryer, a box full of gift cards for groceries, cash and a free meal provided to the whole family by Egg Plantation on Friday night.
But Kei Kei Lee, executive director of Coco Moms, had some more surprises up her sleeve. The mother, Sherry Wright, got to see each of her 12 kids be presented with a new pair of Nike Air Force 1s. Lee also told Wright that her gas bill, which had been a source of stress for Wright, wasn’t something she needed to worry about anymore.
“It means a lot because you know, I never really had anyone to do anything for me. So this is very nice,” said Wright. “It’s a great help, that can really help especially when things start to happen – like my car broke down. The transmission went out and it’s in the shop right now. I mean, it just came right on time.”
Some help with the bills, a free meal and some new shoes does a lot, but for one of Wright’s kids, the financial stress put on the family may have denied him the opportunity to follow something he excelled at – track and field. Running shoes, uniforms and fees may have put his ambitions to rest. But again, Wright was told she wouldn’t have to worry about that.
Flying Phoenix, a track and field club based in Canyon Country, offered to sponsor Wright’s son – an opportunity its founder and president, Sandy Lanning, was happy to provide.
“He wanted to run track really bad and I know for a lot of kids and parents, it’s a decision financially. So being able to offer free registration, and give him uniforms and spirit wear, it’s something that I like to give back to the community. So I really am glad that [Coco Moms] reached out to me and asked me to be part of this activity tonight.”
Lanning said Wright’s situation was something she could relate to. When she heard Wright’s story, she found parallels between Wright and her own life and the decision to help struck a personal chord with her.
“I understand the challenges of being a mother with a lot of siblings and it’s a very inspiring moment for me,” said Lanning. “It’s also so humbling and gracious to be able to give back knowing that I had a similar upbringing. So it was a very emotional moment for me, but I’m glad that Coco Moms and my team can help them out.”
Lee also said the experience was humbling and that basic necessities, or things beyond them, have a huge impact on families like Wright’s. But the opportunity to help wasn’t done alone – the whole community pulled together to make it happen.
“It feels amazing. Let me tell you, this community is amazing. It isn’t just me, this is a culmination of a lot of different partners and individuals in the community, as well as businesses,” said Lee. “It isn’t only Coco Moms, this is a community-concerted effort and by continuing to partner together, we can do so much more. But this is not me, it’s everybody.”
Kim Noice, general manager of Egg Plantation, said any time there’s an opportunity to help it brings the true joy of selflessness – especially during the holidays.
“I’m speechless because I think it’s so wonderful that we can take the time to give back to some of the people that need it… but for somebody that’s taken on so much to do, this is great,” said Noice. “It’s important. I think we need to learn to take care of one another. There’s so much anger in this world now and we just need to have a bigger hearts and give. Not everybody is as fortunate.”
Noice also said selflessness does not need to be reserved for this time of year.
“It needs to be done year round. I feel that everybody wants to put it off for the holidays, but you know, some people need help year round, right? So if you can do that, that’d be great, too.”
Wright said people who want to help sometimes don’t always follow through on their promises, but the people she met on Saturday weren’t those people.
“When I heard about what they can do for you, I was like, ‘Wow.’ It was amazing. Because you know, you hear that all the time and then some of the time, people don’t come through,” said Wright. “They came through and I thought that was really great.”