Santa Clara Rotary continued its holiday tradition on Dec. 9, by holding its 27th annual Christmas 4 Kids event. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place on indoor gatherings, the 2021 version had the same look and feel as last year’s 2020 version.
While many organizations put events on hold in 2020 due to uncertainties caused by COVID, Santa Clara Rotary felt the mission of helping children and families was too important. In partnership with the Santa Clara Unified School District, the event was moved to the Wilson School/Family Resource Center, located at 1840 Benton Street for a drive-thru, low to no contact event.
“In partnership with the Santa Clara Unified School District, we were able to provide a new coat and a bag of presents to 125 school children in our community,” said Rotary Club of Santa Clara President Bill Kelly. “Some of these students may be receiving their very first new winter coat, just in time for the cold winter weather.”
“Students were provided a wish list of possible presents and our club members purchased and wrapped these presents for delivery at the event,” Kelly continued.
Cars entered from Benton Street and were guided to specific spots in the back parking lot. From there, volunteers from Santa Clara’s high schools and members of Rotary Interact (the name of Rotary programs in schools) acted as runners. They took the information for each car to other volunteers who filled bags presents and jackets.
The runners then returned to the cars and gave the children the presents and jackets. The process worked flawlessly as a stream of cars came through the parking lot.
“I’m so excited,” said eight-year-old Luis.
The smile on the face of Luis’ mother, Jessica, conveyed the same thought.
“This is so wonderful. With everything costing more and my hours cut at work, this is so wonderful,” said Jessica.
After receiving their jackets and presents, cars followed a path through the parking lot that led them past organizations such as the Santa Clara Parade of Champions, the Joy of SEWA, Montessori School of Silicon Valley and even a chance to see Santa.
While the future of COVID restrictions on indoor events in 2022 is uncertain, one thing that is certain is that Santa Clara Rotary will continue its tradition of helping school children – even if that means holding it outdoors again.
“For the past 85 years, the motto of our Rotary Club has been, ‘Service above self,’” said Kelly. “Programs like Christmas 4 Kids allow our members to make a positive difference in the lives of our youth here in the Mission City.”