I just recently learned about an absolutely fabulous community event put on by members of the Kiwanis Club of Orange called Holiday Hope. Special shout out to Judy Solee and Marsha Zembower, who I'm told are the main coordinators of this event.
With the holiday season upon us, it's so easy to get caught up in the joy and excitement of all the goodies that come with it; pumpkin spice lattes, holiday parties, gift exchanges, investing in that perfect pair of winter boots. But how easy it is to forget that we are the lucky few...that so many in our own community don't have the luxuries to fully enjoy the holiday season. Holiday Hope is an event that allows families in need to get a taste of the holiday spirit, and to feel the kindness of donations from our community.
If you are not familiar, Holiday Hope is a day of encouragement and hope for families in transition, most of whom live in motels, shelters, or just their cars. It is a fun-filled day that starts out with a hot breakfast, which is something many of these families do not get. There is entertainment throughout the day including carolers, face painting, clowns, and a visit from Santa. All of the children from these families are able to select a holiday gift for their parents and/or grandparents at Rudolph's Workshop. The kids also make holiday cards and decorate cookies. There is even a clothing room where families are able to pick up warm winter clothes.
While the kids are "shopping" for holiday gifts and making crafts, mom and dad can take a well-deserved break by indulging in a mini-massage, manicure and haircut. All of these services are donated by local professionals. After lunch Santa arrives to the delight of the children. Every child is given a new toy from Santa.
For the past 15 years Marsha Zembower and Judy Sollee have organized Holiday Hope and nearly 18,000 people have been served through their efforts. Invitations for this event are sent to a number of shelters throughout the City and County including: Casa Teresa, Hanna's House, Mercy House, Thomas House, Grandma's House, House of Hope, etc. This year Holiday Hope is Saturday, December 1st at the Orange Presbyterian Church which is located at 191 N Grand.
Right now, Kiwanis Club is looking for donations as well as volunteers to make Holiday Hope possible. If you are willing/able to help out, they could really use donations of things like:
- clothing -- all sizes for men, women, and children
- "gifts" that children can give to their parents. This can be a candle, frame, necklace, decorations, unused make-up, etc... items in your home that you no longer need and would be a good gift for a child to give their parent.
- wrapping paper, bags, etc. for the parent gifts
- NEW toys for Santa to distribute to the children
- last but not least...they need HELPERS! people who can take a family to each "station," to help wrap presents, distribute food, etc.
All donations will be given a tax-deductible receipt.
If you would like to be a part of this event, or are able to donate to the cause, call Judy at 714-538-2341 ext 112.