For the 37th year, the Soroptimist International of Santa Clara Silicon Valley (SISCSV) distributed holiday cheer to pre-selected families at the Pomeroy Elementary School on Dec. 8. This annual club gift giving event which is dubbed the free Christmas Store has 100 percent member participation.
One hundred families, 300 children, a few single individuals, 10 families with a member in dialysis treatment, and past awardees of “Live Your Dream” participated in free shopping for gifts for themselves and their kids. Each family received a $35 gift certificate for Target and Safeway; baked goods donated by Safeway Los Altos, Safeway Almaden and Mountain view; mini appliances; blankets; comforter covers; age appropriate toys; dental hygiene products; toiletries; a few clothes and home decors; and school supplies.
The gifts were nicely displayed on long tables and parents, accompanied by a SISCSV member, selected items to take home. They are given the experience to shop without having to pay. Recipients had pastries and coffee while waiting for their items to be gift wrapped.
“Marilee Dunn and Norma Elena Rios, who are once more co-chair of this huge undertaking, have done remarkable job as usual,” said Birdie Pacelli, co-president. “The smiles and joy in everyone’s faces were evident; the Christmas spirit was alive and well. I am not amazed by the full participation of the members. They shopped, donated, planned and helped set up and cleaned up. I am truly grateful for the generosity of these dynamic ladies and volunteers.”
“It was heartwarming to see parents and grandparents think of how they can make their children’s and grandchildren’s holiday special,” said Nirit Peer, who is the newest SISCSV member and first year participant of the event. “When offered to take a gift for themselves they were taken aback and surprised. It was fun to spend time with the Soroptimist ladies who have worked so tirelessly to make this ‘shopping’ event possible for the families from our community.”
The children were mostly from Pomeroy, Haman and Scott Lane Elementary schools in Santa Clara. The event was funded from donations from the Mission City Community Fund, Santa Clara Rotary and proceeds of the Soroptimist’s Annual Classy Bag Affaire — the next Classy Bag event is on Feb. 29. 2020 at Marriott Santa Clara.
Per Marilee Dunn, co-chair and co-President: “When we do something like this, we appreciate all that we have and being able to make so many families happy this holiday season is just a wonderful feeling. All the hard work makes it all worthwhile.”