Holiday Heroes Gift Drive a Major Success
At the end of each year, the Children’s Foundation of America focuses on making children’s holiday wishes come true through our annual Holiday Heroes campaign. The initiative features a toy drive, gift wrapping fundraiser and the involvement of several volunteers and partners.
Holiday Heroes Fulfill Wishes
The Children’s Foundation of America’s Holiday Heroes gift drive was a resounding success. The Foundation was able to fulfill the wishes of nearly 400 children in Trinity Youth Services foster care and residential treatment programs. Children submitted three wishes and the Foundation was able to grant them all. For younger children, the wishes were mainly toys and games and the older children requested gift cards for retailers, entertainment and restaurants. The Foundation is proud to support the children of Trinity, all of whom have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other traumatic circumstance. The Foundation was also able to provide toys and other items to the Benjamin E. Jones Community Resource Center for their “Sweet Little Angels” gift giveaway program, benefiting children of families living in poverty.
The Gift Wrapping booth at the Plaza West Covina mall, which was staffed by volunteers who contributed 501 hours of time, brought in nearly $9,000. “Giving Tree” wishes, granted by shoppers, brought in gifts for children totaling $1,544. Our sincerest thanks to Laura Gonzales and the management of the Plaza West Covina for their support.
Fenceworks of Riverside contributed an overwhelmingly generous supply of gift cards for teens and toys, bikes, helmets and jackets for children of all ages. Holiday Heroes Toy Box Sponsors included West Coast Dermatology Billers, Toshiba, Advantage Resourcing, Mijac Alarm, JCM Engineering, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Special thanks to Foundation Trustee, Carla Kingsbury, for encouraging Wells Fargo to increase their level of giving every year for the past five years.
Image Source USA raised the bar on both a personal and corporate level. Trustee Judith Jarvis, Vice President of Sales for Image Source, personally made a significant contribution, then challenged Image Source President, Brad Craft, to match her gift. She then gathered an additional donation from her sales team with their Branch Manager, Jordan Craft, leading the way. The total gift from the company totaled more than $7,000 and was used to fulfill individual children’s wishes and larger shared gifts such as sports equipment and new library books for youth living in residential placement settings.
Girl Scout Troop #1455 donated toiletries for teen girls and the Saddleback Kiwanis Club donated Therapy Dolls. The Today Show Charitable Foundation donated stuffed animals. These are just a few of the examples of generosity from some of the Foundation’s treasured partners.
“Giving Trees” were sponsored by the Claremont Chamber of Commerce and Tapestry Church Claremont. Heirloom Claremont hosted a “Make ‘N Take” ornament fundraiser and The Colony at Loft 204 gallery collected donations by selling Christmas cards designed by foster children. Several guests to the Claremont events Giving Tuesday and Holiday Promenade collected wishes from the Foundation’s “Giving Tree” and dropped off toys to the office throughout November and December.
The Board of Trustees and staff of the Children’s Foundation of America want to thank all of the donors and volunteers for making this year such a tremendous success. You have truly put the “Merry” in “Merry Christmas” for children who need it most. You are all truly Holiday Heroes!
Rebecca Ustrell, Community Outreach Coordinator
Becky acts as liaison for Children’s Foundation of America. On any given day she could be meeting with potential donors, coordinating a fundraising event, recruiting volunteers and forming partnerships with other nonprofits that can benefit from the help of our Foundation. Becky is currently studying sociology as well as fine art and helps organize the Claremont Art Walk. You will most likely find Becky working on freelance illustrations, playing the cello, mingling at a chamber of commerce event or volunteering in the community.
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Toys for Children in Delman Heights, San Bernardino
The Children’s Foundation of America partnered with the Benjamin E. Jones Community Resource Center in Delman Heights, a neighborhood in San Bernardino CA, to ensure children of the community receive gifts this Christmas.
“We were able to give three toys to every child they had planned to give gifts to,” said Children’s Foundation of America Executive Director Cher Ofstedahl.
According to the organization’s website, the median household income is $38,808 in the community they serve and is above the national average for crime. One of the biggest challenges in their community is education with 59 percent of residents 18 and over graduating from high school and only four percent of the population completing a bachelor’s degree or higher. To enhance the quality of life in their local area, the community center offers family services, prevention of homelessness programs, educational programs and job placement services.
The “Sweet Little Angels” gift giveaway at the Benjamin E. Jones Community Resource Center helps make a merry Christmas for the children of Delman Heights, who may not otherwise get the opportunity to receive brand new toys, which bring such joy, not only to these “Little Angels,” but also to their families, who may not be able to provide such opportunities.
Benjamin Edward Jones, the namesake of the Delman Heights community center, was the Pastor of Zion Elect Church of God in Christ in San Bernardino in the 1960s. He would walk up and down the street and pray for the community and its leaders. Benjamin E. Jones was greatly involved in many activities in the community including a 12-step drug and alcohol program for community residents, social services organizations, was a member of the police clergy, and spent much of his time feeding the hungry and providing Christmas toys for the less fortunate.
His ministry continues today at the community resource center under the direction of Pastor Paul Jones. Pastor Jones expressed his gratitude to the Children’s Foundation of America and to all who donated toys to the Foundation to support disadvantaged children, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The Children’s Foundation of America is proud to continue a partnership with this organization and is currently making plans to supply the center with additional needs.