Treating families to Holiday cheer was the plan on Dec. 8 at Soroptimist International of Santa Clara Silicon Valley’s 36th annual Free Christmas Store.
This year’s event has grown compared to past events. In 2017, 275 kids benefited from Soroptimist’s generosity, while in 2018 over 300 children from 100 families will get a special present, according to Soroptimist Past President Birdie Pacelli.
At Pomeroy Elementary School, a huge selection of toys lined tables. Families got to choose age-appropriate toys for their children and then get the gifts wrapped.
Karla Ramos is new to Santa Clara. Just six months ago, she moved to Santa Clara from Los Angeles. “I am so blessed to be receiving gifts especially for my two boys and one on the way,” said Ramos. “This is a big help. Thank you, Soroptimist.”
Each family received $25 gift certificate for groceries. Goodie bags included blankets, comforter covers, mini appliances, dental hygiene products, bakery goods and more.
“The joy and the big smiles I see are indelible in my memory,” said Pacelli. “It is truly amazing to see everyone in festive mood and for each family going home with a big bag full of goodies it is such a wonderful Holiday treat from the ladies of the club.”
The children were mostly from Pomeroy, Haman and Scott elementary schools in Santa Clara. Additionally, 15 families who have a loved one in dialysis and some homeless individuals were also included in the festive event.
The event was primarily powered by a donation from the Mission City Community Fund and also from the proceeds of the Soroptimist’s Annual Classy Bag Affaire — the next Classy Bag event is on March 16, 2019 at Marriott Santa Clara.
“To see the faces of the parents who were able to pick out gifts, not only for their children but themselves and sometimes grandparents who live with them, leave us very grateful that we can help others in our community,” said Soroptimist President Marilee Dunn.