Final ‘ho-ho-ho” push is on for Rotary Club Christmas Baskets

December 20, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

The final “Ho-ho-ho!” push is on as the Rotary Club of Santa Paula scrambles to make sure they have enough to fill 500 Christmas Baskets for pre-qualified needy families that would not be able to celebrate the holiday without the generosity of the community.

Also needed are cash donations to purchase chickens and other fresh goods for the baskets. 

According to Rotarian Carlos Juarez, the 2013 Rotary Christmas Basket Chairman, although there seems to be enough toys for the little girls and boys, Rotarians suspect there might be a shortage of gifts for their older sisters and brothers.

“We were helping Toys for Tots sort presents,” by age group and gender and Juarez said it was apparent that gifts for those children over 12 were coming up short.

“It’s a countywide problem,” that Juarez said local Rotarians will tackle by aggressive pre-Christmas shopping jaunts Monday at local retailers such as Kmart and Big Lots that offer generous discounts to the nonprofit service club.

“We’ll also be approaching the new Big 5 Sporting Goods, we’ve heard they’re very generous to the community,” he noted.

Of course private monetary donations are needed to shop but Juarez also asked that those that would like to help a Santa Paula child to enjoy Christmas to consider the older child.

“Games and sporting goods are great for boys and girls 12 and older,” and also allow tweens and teens to play with others. 

Older girls also enjoy fashion accessories, cosmetic bags, cosmetics, toiletries and hair accessories and styling tools.

Saturday Rotarians and volunteers assemble gift boxes and on Sunday fill the boxes with the children’s gift items. 

Once they determine their needs Rotarians and supporters-including Santa Paula Firefighters who also donate to the cause-will hit the local stores to buy what is needed.

That will also include trips to the grocery store to supplement the donated food that goes into each basket that holds canned and fresh items for several days of healthy holiday meals. 

“Monday is the day we go out and purchase to backfill,” said Juarez.

Early Tuesday, Christmas Eve morning, dozens of trucks will be filled by an army of volunteers to set out on pre-determined routes to deliver the baskets.

Each recipient Santa Paula family was pre-qualified by the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley to determine need: “They did a great job,” said Juarez. “They not only took all the applications and screened them but then also notified the families whether they would be receiving a basket.”

Juarez, a retired Santa Paula Police Lieutenant, said he has worked on many Rotary Christmas Basket campaigns.

“I’ve done everything over the years, worked on applications, taken donations, filled baskets, delivered...now I’m the chairman.

“It’s a very daunting task,” but one that Juarez has willingly tackled.

He noted, “When I was a kid we were pretty poor...and we used to get Rotary Christmas Baskets,” and now Juarez is able to give back.

If you would like more information or to arrange a donation call Juarez at 805-290-5525 

Donation boxes that have been displayed at area businesses will be picked up Friday morning although Juarez said those who would like to make donations can do so at the Community Center on Saturday and Sunday.

That includes cash and checks as the club has run short this year on monetary donations to cover the cost of the produce and chickens purchased by the club.

Monetary contributions may be given to any Santa Paula Rotary Club member or mailed to the Rotary Club at P.O. Box 809, Santa Paula, CA  93061. Please make all checks payable to Santa Paula Rotary Christmas Basket Fund. Visit the Rotary website at www.santapaularotary.org or send an email to rotarybaskets@gmail.com for more information, or speak with any Rotary Club of Santa Paula member.

Remember: the success of the Rotary Christmas Basket Program is largely dependent on the legendary generosity of the Santa Paula community. Students, churches, Scout troops, clubs, and mobile home parks have all contributed in the past showing their support to help our Santa Paulans in need this Christmas season. 





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