Around Alamo: Share the Warmth gift drive accepting donations
The holiday season seems to bring out the best in people, especially when it comes to giving, not merely gifts for family and friends, but also the gift of goodwill and compassion.
A classic example is the theme of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” in which Scrooge learns one of life’s most profound lessons, that it just feels good to do something for someone who may be down on his or her luck or could use a helping hand. So while celebrations ensue all season long with the scent of freshly cut evergreen trees, garlands and wreaths, which are symbolic of this wonder-filled time of year, so too are the numerous brown barrels lining grocery stores, full of edible donations, along with the jingling of a handheld bell, beckoning passers-by to drop a little change in the red bucket. During this time of year when so many count their blessings and appreciate their good fortune, it is always a good thing to donate canned items for the food bank, fill those hanging bright buckets with bills and buy extra gifts for “adopted” families.
However, the sad truth is that the plight of those less fortunate is a reality for many all year long, not just during the holidays. Thankfully there are organizations such as SHELTER Inc. of Contra Costa County, which recognizes the fact that many families in our county are struggling throughout the year, not just around Christmastime. That’s why the organization, along with wonderful volunteers, is helping families in the program to have a more special holiday than they would otherwise have had.
The volunteers are looking for donations of wrapped gifts for four different age groups. Group One is for ages up to 5, and the needs are for boys’ and girls’ pajamas, socks, blankets, mittens and sweatshirts. Group Two consists of boys and girls ages 6 to 12, and the request is for pajamas, socks, underwear, throw blankets, scarves, hats, gloves and hooded zip-up sweatshirts. For boys and girls 13 to 18 years old Group Three, they’d also like to give them pajamas, socks, scarves and glove sets and hooded zip-up sweatshirts. Group Four is for the parents in the SHELTER program, men and women who would be grateful for pajamas, slippers, sweaters, bath and body gift sets, wallets and alarm clocks. Please wrap each gift with holiday paper and label each item with the gender, size and age and content (e.g. “girl, medium, age 12, pajamas”).
Please drop off donations by Dec. 14 on the porch of one of three Alamo homes of members of SUPPORT for SHELTER, which is the auxiliary of SHELTER Inc. The members and their homes are Janet Besse, 18 Mott Drive; Penny Edwards, 14 Saratoga Court; and Sonia McCoy, 915 Underhill Drive. These volunteers are happy to assist SHELTER, Inc. in helping to make the holidays brighter for those served by the organization.
“The families that are with SHELTER Inc. aren’t just looking for a handout. With the assistance of the organization, these families are working toward the goal of improving their unfortunate situation,” explained Besse. “We are proud of them and are pleased that we can help make their holidays a lot brighter by participating in Share the Warmth,” she added.
Edwards is looking forward to helping out again this year. “I am so excited about once again organizing the Share the Warmth program for SHELTER Inc. It is a pleasure for us to support this program that so lovingly and efficiently serves those in our community who are down on their luck,” said Edwards. “Many folks join together to see that no one who asks leaves without a gift. May the spirit of the season move us to put our hands to the task,” she added.
For more information, visit the SHELTER Inc. website at www.shelterinc.org, and, as Tiny Tim stated in the Dickens classic, “God bless us, every one!”