2021 Holiday Heroes: Community Comes Together to Provide a Happy Holiday to Thousands of Displaced Children
This Christmas, the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) provided gifts to 2,175 displaced children at 19 different organizations. Fifty participating businesses, along with several individuals, collected nearly $60,000 worth of toys and gifts for children in need this holiday season.
The Claremont Village Marketing Group encouraged businesses of Claremont’s downtown district to participate, contributing 20 locations to our overall total. Claremont Toyota hosted a toy drive and holiday fundraiser at their location. Montclair Place hosted a Giving Tree at their mall, Plume Ridge Bottle Shop donated a toy for every gift set sold and various other businesses, schools and service groups contributed to the campaign.
Board Member, Christina Jackson, worked miracles again this year gathering her network of Santa’s elves to contribute over $11,000 worth of gifts for children in need this Christmas. Long-time supporter, Jorge Merlos, was also a real hero this Christmas gathering his community from SouthPaw Bill, Integrity Home Finance, Altar Tattoo and more in collecting over $13,000 worth of toys.
A warm thank you also goes out to Char Constantino and her team at CG Realtors for their participation and spreading awareness about children in foster care. Image Source also campaigned to raise thousands of dollars in support of youth in group homes and in foster care.
Though we were not able to host our gift wrapping fundraiser at the mall this year due to the continuing pandemic, Lion’s Heart Service conducted a small gift wrapping booth at the Claremont Packing House in partnership with Claremont Gallery, an artist market held weekly in the Packing House atrium. In addition, we held a Virtual Gala and Online Auction hosted by CFA CEO, Cher Ofstedahl and featuring Hallmark leading lady and foster care advocate, Jen Lilley. Through our various fundraising efforts, we were able to raise over $43,000 in support of children in need this holiday season!
These funds were used to provide holiday festivities for foster families and group homes. A drive-thru experience was held where families received gingerbread houses, pies, food, hot chocolate and other festive giveaways, plus children got to visit and take a photo with Santa. Holiday treat bags, gift cards, magician and a Christmas dinner was provided to youth in group homes. Funds also purchased gift wrap for the toys distributed through our campaign and purchased any additional gifts needed. Remaining funds will continue to support these children’s wishes and needs throughout the year, including scholarships, grants and specific requests.
Twenty-five dedicated volunteers contributed a combined total of 113 hours packing and distributing gifts for children in foster care, group homes, shelters, underserved school districts, crisis centers and more. What we were able to accomplish this year would not have been possible without the participation of our generous community. Thank you so much for all you do for the children we serve.
Thank you to our gift drive participants: Amelie Claremont, Be Rosie Salon, Bert & Rocky’s Ice Cream, Bunny Gunner, Centers for Spiritual Living, CG Realtors, Christina Jackson, CLA (Clifton, Larson, Allen), Caleres, Claremont Chamber, Claremont Chef’s Academy, Claremont Craft Ales, Claremont Toyota, Claremont Village Eatery, CPP Office of Academic Innovation, Dani & Ronnie, Diamond Wipes INT, DoubleTree Ontario, Enterprise, EPICycle Studios, FDS Manufacturing Co (Pomona), Full Circle Home Loans, Gaf Roofing, Hendrick’s Pharmacy, Honeybird LA, I Like Pie Bakeshop, Image Source USA, Jorge Merlos and Integrity Home Finance, International Vitamin Corp, JMC Engineering, Kiddie Academy, Lumen Spa, Pomona Catholic High School (Make a Wish Club), Middle Tree, Mijac Alarm, Mira Loma, Montclair Place, Packing House Wines, Plume Ridge Bottle Shop, Rev’d Up Coffee, Sanctuary Coffee, Scripps College, Sonja Stump Photography, The Diamond Center, The Grove Clothing, The Grove Home, The Treatment, The Village Postmark, T Street Volleyball, Village Dance Arts, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and West Coast Dermatology Billers.
Organizations Supported: Riverside USD, Ark Family Homes, Ontario Montclair School District, McKinley Children’s Center, Trinity Youth Services, Pathways, Fields Comprehensive, New Life Foster Family Agency, San Bernardino County Schools, St Anne’s, Advantage Foster Family Agency, Building Bridges Foster Family Agency, Shoes That Fit, Crittenton Foster Care, Olive Crest, Serenity Foster Care & Adoptions, Citrus Elementary, Mission Elementary, and Concerned Citizens for the Development of North Fontana.
Jenelle Phillips, Director of Development
Jenelle oversees the day-to-day operations and staffing of the Foundation, which includes event planning, volunteer coordination, community outreach, marketing and donor relations. Above all, Jenelle’s focus is to identify and access resources in order to help children heal, learn and thrive. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from California State University Fullerton and is very involved in the community. She is active in her church and owns an art gallery. Her volunteer contributions to the community have been recognized by Senator Portantino, Assemblymember Holden and the Claremont Village Marketing Group.
CFA’s 2019 Holiday Heroes Campaign Brought Hope and Joy to Over 2,000 Children
The Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) left 2019 strong, serving 2,067 children in need during our Holiday Heroes campaign! Children varying from foster care, residential therapeutic programs, shelters, under-served community centers, or identified by school districts as in need, were supported through 14 organizations.
Trinity Youth Services
Ontario Montclair School District
McKinley Children’s Center
Oak Grove Center
David and Margaret Youth and Family Services
A Grater Hope Foundation
Inland Temporary Homes
New Dawn Group Home
San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools
Upland Unified School District
House of Ruth
Concerned Citizens for the Development
Building Bridges Foster Family Agency
One of the organizations we supported thanked us stating, “The holidays are a complex time for foster children. The season can be painful as they remember the family and friends they are apart from,” said A Greater Hope Director of Development, Amanda Bell. “Your support made them rejoice, laugh, smile and even sing, leaving them with memories to last a lifetime. For this, I am truly grateful,” she said.
We are greatly appreciative to Montclair Place for once again hosting us at their mall to conduct our Holiday Heroes Gift Wrap Station and Fundraiser. This year, we raised over $5,000 in gift wrapping donations! Thank you to the amazing Montclair Place management and marketing team as well as our wonderful neighboring businesses who supported our cause through the holidays.
This year, we were helped by 272 volunteers, who spent a total of 875.25 hours of their time wrapping gifts at our mall fundraiser, prepping for our campaign, and distributing gifts at the warehouse. We were so grateful to businesses and service groups like Lion’s Heart, Wells Fargo and DoubleTree by Hilton for forming teams filling full days of shifts! Sysco generously provided snacks and bottled water for all of our volunteers.
With the help of our amazing gift drive locations, we were able to collect nearly $60,000 worth of toys and gifts for displaced youth. One special donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, provided Footlocker gift cards for each of the foster teens on our list to pick out new shoes for Christmas. This was a big request among the age group this year and we were so happy to have a partner to fulfill this need! Special recognition goes to Jorge Merlos of Integrity Home Finance, Dr. Robert Rosas of Ahava Chiropractic, and Kevin Mink of Image Source USA for going above and beyond to advocate for children in need and encouraging others to join them in being the difference.
Gift Drive Locations:
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Lewis LLP.
Image Source USA
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
The Hillman Group
The Costantino Group
Claremont Center for Spiritual Living
Plum Ridge Bottle Shop
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont
White, Nelson, Diehl, Evans LLP
Ben Bridge Jewelers
Agape Movement Christian Church
Laemmle Movie Theater Claremont
Wynder Law Inc.
Foothill Learning Annex
Jorge Merlos/Integrity Home Finance/MBM Credit Solutions
Riverside Cars & Coffee/San Bernardino Spartans
City of Claremont Council Member Ed Reece
The success of this year’s campaign would not have been possible without the help of our volunteers, gift drive locations, sponsors and donors. All funds raised during the campaign were used to provide the kids with holiday festivities and will be used to provide support to children in need for the year to come. Thank you to everyone who helped to bring hope and joy to children who need it most.
2019 Holiday Heroes Sponsors:
Claremont Lincoln University
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.