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Children leave CCRC Holiday Book & Toy Drive with presents, big smiles

Even though her husband was out of work due to the pandemic and finances are strained, a mother of two shared with us Saturday at our Holiday Book and Toy Drive that she keeps the tradition alive to honor her late mother.

“As a child, it meant so much, my mom made sure we’d always celebrate. It means so much because my mom passed a few years ago and it’s been rough celebrating without her,” said Gloria M. “I want to make sure my kids experience it the way I did.”

Like many families, Gloria has faced hardship during the pandemic, which caused her husband to lose his employment.

“It’s been a rough year, we all know the pandemic, we’ve been through so much ups and downs,” she said. “I’m so happy and blessed that you guys do this program so we can get some stuff for our kids.”

Along with about 300 other families, Gloria’s children packed their holiday bags with a toy, book, holiday cookies and a family game. After picking their favorite toy and age appropriate book, the families enjoyed lunch in the courtyard.

“It could just be something small but it’s the thought that counts, my kids will be grateful for anything,” said Vanessa P. “(Seeing them smile) is the best, no words can describe it.”

With her three children at her side wearing their festive sweaters, Vanessa explained that these may be the only gifts her children receive this holiday.

“I’m a single mom so it’s hard around this time,” said Vanessa P. “I’ve participated before with this CCRC program and it’s a great help. Especially with everything going up in prices, it is hard. I was out of a job for like half a year and little by little I’m getting there, but still barely making it.”

Families also received a gift card for groceries and a handmade holiday card from children in CCRC Head Start. Working the family game table was CCRC Chief Strategic Officer Donna Sneeringer and her daughter.

“You see the kids start to arrive and they’re wearing their holiday outfits and jumping up and down,” said Donna. “It’s just wonderful to be able to share some joy.”

This year, CCRC added a special addition to the annual drive with a program we called Adopt a Family. Through this option, donors could elect to provide a book, toy, family game, fresh produce, pandemic supplies and more to a family who is involved in CCRC programs. Thanks to our generous community, 375 children in 146 families were “adopted” this holiday season.

Thanks to all who helped make this event a success and provide cheer for the 12th year in a row to families like Gloria’s and Vanessa’s. Your gift makes a difference.

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Photo of three girls sitting with books