’Tis the season to give

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Community Solutions Case Manager Alicia Rivias works to load up

While last-minute Morgan Hill shoppers scramble for gifts less than a week before Christmas, there’s also still time to show a little holiday spirit for those less fortunate.

For the second year in a row, Hot Java and the Centennial Recreation Center host “Be a Santa to a Senior,” a program that allows community members to ‘adopt’ a senior citizen and give a holiday gift to those that otherwise may not receive one.

Through Home Instead Senior Care, community members can take an ornament from a tree at one of the two locations in Morgan Hill. Each paper ornament has a name of a senior on it, and their preference for items that they may need. Items include simple every day items such as blankets, slippers, toiletries, food baskets, towels or pet food.

“Its really heart warming. When they get the gift, have someone come and be with them to deliver it. It shows that they haven’t been forgotten,” said Jennifer McLain, an organizer for South County through Home Instead Senior Care.

Over 400 tags were distributed this year to Morgan Hill, Santa Clara and Campbell locations. The tree with the most with 200 tags, was at Hot Java.

Manager of Hot Java Mary Connolly said that word has spread about the program, with some people taking up to five tags each.

“It’s really nice,” she said, suggesting gifts don’t have to be expensive to count. Some patrons have gone to the Dollar Tree store to purchase some gift items, she said. Most of the tags at the Hot Java Christmas tree have listed “no preference” for their gifts. This is the second year Hot Java has participated.

Be a Santa to a Senior ends on Wednesday Dec. 21, with about 20 tags still left on both trees at Hot Java and the CRC. Deliveries will be distributed on Dec. 22 and 23. They are also looking for holiday wrapping paper, which can be dropped off at either location.

Community Solutions held their annual Holiday Giving Program, where businesses and individuals can adopt a family to give gifts to. This year, about 560 individuals were given items of gifts and foods, said volunteer coordinator Paige Day.

Various businesses had giving trees similar to the Santa for a Senior project, while others held fundraisers to fill in the gaps for families who for example, may have needed bigger items on their list such as a new heater, said Day. Families are chosen from various programs, on a most-need/crisis based priority by a committee.

The Holiday Giving Program is completely volunteer-run by a committee that plans year-round. For the 2012 holidays, Community Solutions will start looking for volunteers starting in February 2012.

“We can always use additional support for new families coming in,” Day said.

Although the program in itself is done for the year, now until Christmas, Community Solutions receives new families that are still in need, said Day. She suggests donations of gift cards, specifically grocery store cards, are in high need.

Year-Round
– St. Catherine donations year-round for the Reach Out FoodCloset: www.stca.org. Click on “Pay via ParishPay” and search forSt. Catherine in “Start Giving Now.”
– Community Solutions is always looking for monetary donationsor volunteers year-round. For more information, contact Paige Dayat [email protected] or (408) 776-6232.
– Toys for Tots, year-round Cochrane Road Self Storage, 411Woodview Ave. Drop off new, unwrapped toys preferably for children10-12 and infants at the following locations:
– Morgan Hill Unified School District, individual schools
– BookSmart, 80 East Second Street
– United Academy of Martial Arts, 17355 Depot Street
– Lacerda Chiropractic, 17295 Monterey Road
– Op Eng #3 Federal Credit Union, 325 Digital Drive, Suite B
– Coldwell Banker, 950 Tennant Ave
– Community Chiropractic, 16375 Monterey Road, Suite B
– Santa Teresa Dental, 16160 Monterey Road, Suite A
– Thinker Toys, 311 Vineyard Town Center
– Silva Chiropractic, 18525 Sutter Blvd, Suite 170
– El Toro Fire Station, 18300 Old Monterey Road
– Dunne Hill Fire Station, 2100 E. Dunne Avenue
– Edward Jones, 275 Tennant Avenue Suite 206A
Be a Santa to a Senior
– Hot Java: 17400 Monterey Road, Suite B.
– Centennial Recreation Center: 171 W. Edmundson Ave
– Gifts can be dropped off (unwrapped) by Dec. 21 at bothlocations.
Volunteer
– Community Solutions is looking for volunteers to be a part ofthe Holiday Giving Committee, which meets year-round to help planfor their Holiday Giving Program, starting in February. ContactCommunity Solutions at (408) 779-2113 or visitcommunitysolutions.org.
For gift card donations now until Christmas for families inneed, they can be dropped off at the Morgan Hill location, 16264Church Street #103.

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