For more than 30 years, Soroptomist International of Santa Clara Silicon Valley (SISCSV) has put real meaning in the word ‘giving.’ The service club’s annual free holiday “store” gives families who couldn’t otherwise afford it the gift of a merry Christmas. This year, 114 families – and 270 children – went “shopping” in the Haman Elementary School cafeteria on Dec. 5.
In addition to gifts for each of their children, shoppers go home with gift cards from Target and Safeway, small appliances like toasters, comforters, warm clothing, and toiletry kits. “This is the true spirit of Christmas,” says club co-president Brigida Pacelli.
The Soroptimists stock the store using contributions and funds raised by the service club, as well as donations and special deals from local businesses. Mission City Community Fund and Santa Clara Rotary supported the event, and local dentists donated dental hygiene supplies.
One Soroptimist member, Alexandra Schwarzboeck, came all the way from Austria to help. “She was awe struck by the quality of goods that were given,” reports Pacelli.
It also takes a small army of volunteers to make the annual event happen. In addition to the service club’s members, Wilcox High School “S” Club members volunteered their time to help. The event was co-chaired by Marilee Dunn and Normal Elena Rios.
Although volunteers were tired after the busy day’s work, they were smiling as much as their customers.
“I am proud of what the club has accomplished this year,” says Pacelli. “What a joy it was to see so many smiling faces as they leave with their gifts and goodies. This project was a true commitment of the dedicated members to spread happiness and cheer this holiday season. Truly, it took a village.”
On Feb 28, 2015 SISCSV will hold its annual “Classy Bag Affair” and luncheon on Feb. 27, 2016. This event provides most of the funding for the Christmas Store.