CFA’s ‘Holiday Heroes’ Supports 2,000 Children Despite COVID Crisis

29th of January 2021

For the second year in a row, the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) supported over 2,000 children during the 2020 Holiday Heroes campaign. The need was greater this Christmas in the midst of economic hardship, civil unrest and pandemic. Striving to support as many children in need as possible, CFA teamed up with the following 20 agencies to provide the children they serve with gifts for the holidays:

Trinity Youth Services
Ark Family Homes
Building Bridges Foster Family Agency
Fields Comprehensive
Concerned Citizens for the Development of North Fontana
Olive Crest
A Greater Hope Foundation
Goodwill Industries International
Inland Temporary Homes
McKinley Children’s Center
San Bernardino County Schools
Upland Unified School District
Shoes That Fit
Ontario Montclair School District
Crittenton Foster Care
Riverside Unified School District
St Anne’s
Serenity Foster Care & Adoptions
House of Ruth
Citrus Elementary School

Each organization was invited to a special, socially-distanced event to pick up donations from our warehouse. We had a schedule to stagger pick-ups, but made sure to lift holiday spirits for the children-serving staff and volunteers. Something we all had in common was our absolute gratitude in being able to help children who need it most during the most trying of times.

Our Holiday Heroes gift drive did look a little different this year but that did not stop our supporters from spreading the holiday cheer. CFA partnered with 44 organizations and individuals who generously helped us collect toys:

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Lewis LLP.
Image Source USA
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Mijac Alarm
JCM Engineering
CG Realtors
Christina Jackson and friends
Scripps College
Plume Ridge Bottle Shop
Montclair Place
Ahava Chiropractic
Agape Movement Christian Church
Wynder Law Inc.
Jorge Merlos/Integrity Home Finance/MBM Credit Solutions
Be Rosie Salon
Gaf Roofing
Endless Fitness
Inter Valley Health Plan
Cal Rod Car Club
Hilti Stores
FDS Manufacturing
JDM Carboy

With the help of our amazing gift drive locations, we were able to collect nearly $75,000 worth of toys and gifts for displaced youth. Special recognition to CFA board member Christina Jackson and her network of friends, Jorge Merlos of Integrity Home Finance, CFA board member Carla Kingsbury of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and Darlene Berg from Endless Fitness, for their consistent hard work in advocating for our campaign.

Claremont Village Marketing Group (CVMG) organized a car show and toy drive with Cal Rods Car Club, where they collected two trucks worth of toys for our campaign. CVMG also coordinated with the downtown shopping district to hold a toy drive in partnership with the City of Claremont. 18 participants collected over $10,000 worth of toys for children in need:

The Diamond Center
The Village Postmark
Claremont Chef’s Academy
Tina G Cosmetics
Bunny Gunner
I Like Pie
The Grove Vintage
Bert & Rocky’s Ice Cream
Claremont Village Eatery
Hendrick’s Pharmacy
Village Dance Art
Nekter Juice Bar
Lumen Spa
Middle Tree
Ronnie M. Layering Bar
Sonja Stump Photography
Studio C

Montclair Place once again partnered with us for our Holiday Heroes campaign even though we were not able to hold our annual gift wrapping fundraiser this year due to the pandemic. Instead, a Giving Tree filled with tags featuring children’s holiday wishes was arranged at the center of the mall next to Santa, who sat behind plexiglass this year. The Montclair Place toy drive raised over $6,000 worth of holiday gifts for children in need.

Image Source raised $10,000 for our campaign, which was used to purchase noise canceling head phones for foster youth during distanced learning. “Online learning has been a challenge for our youth,” said Dr. Sherman Mitchell, Residential Campus Director at Trinity Youth Services. “Statistics show that for advanced learners, online classes are a terrific option, but academically challenged students need a classroom with a teacher’s support.”

It is times like these were children in the foster care system fall harder than their peers. “Times have changed. To do better in school, you can no longer sit at the front of the classroom to hear and see better. Now, you must have a better monitor, better speakers, and good internet connection,” said Jim Adams, Director of Mental Health Services at Trinity Youth Services. “The new headphones will allow the youths to better hear, and be heard in their classrooms.” Thanks to Image Source, 200 foster youth will be provided headphones to help them with their studies. On top of their generous donation, Image Source also collected toys for our gift drive!

CFA coordinated with an anonymous donor who contributed $20,000 at Christmas time. Thanks to their generosity, we were able to provide residential campuses with video game consoles, controllers and games, speaker with microphones for talent shows, arcade basketball game for a rec room, air hockey tables and a BBQ grill. Foster youth who live on residential campuses have been on lock down since March 2020 and are experiencing boredom like never before. Gifts like these help keep youth occupied, active and engaged. “They couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Recreational Coordinator Cathleen Duran. “The youth were so excited to receive their PlayStations and couldn’t wait to play the NBA 2021 game, since many held Kobe close to their hearts (who passed away in a helicopter crash in early 2020). Times are tough right now and this donation really helped keep our youth happy during the holidays.”

We were also able to purchase Amazon, Footlocker, Game Stop, fast food gift cards and chocolate bars for 100 foster teens isolating in residential care. We purchased new bikes, scooters, and skateboards for an additional 100 children in foster care. The donation from our anonymous donor also allowed us to provide resource families with game night packs to help pass the time isolating at home.

CFA also helped make it possible for foster care offices to to provide drive-thru holiday festivities and gift distribution with Santa Claus for resource families in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. Rentals were required for drive-thru coverage and heating because all activities were held safely outside. Children were provided their toys from our gift drive and families received food for their holiday meals. Social workers conducted drive-thru game and photo booths for the children to enjoy through their car window.

Thank you to everyone who made our campaign a success. It is thanks to you that over 2,000 children in need were able to celebrate the holidays despite a terrible pandemic. For questions or to get involved, contact or 800.KIDS.730. Thank you to our sponsors:

Claremont Lincoln University
Valarie Martinez and VMA Communications
Claremont Toyota
Sheri Nagel

Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Isabel primarily works as Clerical for Trinity Youth Services. Prior to her work there, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

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