SCE Spreads Holiday Cheer to Two Local Families in Santa Cruz
This year SCE member Jenn Betancourt organized a great way for our team to reach out to our community: we “adopted” two families in need. Here Jenn writes about the experience and what it means for SCE to not just be a running team but a true member of our Santa Cruz community.
We are fit. We are fast. But we are also generously kind people that care about others. This holiday season, Santa Cruz Endurance (SCE) adopted two local families in need.
At the start of this activity, I decided I would just put a feeler out there to see what kind of response I would get. I was overwhelmed and touched by how amazing and supportive this team was. It was clear by the number of people initially interested that SCE could sponsor not one but TWO families. So, I called the “Volunteer Center- Adopt a Family Project” and let them know we wanted to help. They gave us two very lovely families in need of a little happiness. Individually we all set out to purchase gifts for the families and on December 8th, the gift collection took place at our annual SCE Holiday Party.
Aaron and I took the HUGE MOUNTAIN of GIFTS (WOW!) home with us and I set out to wrap them almost all of them (a few were wrapped already)! I love wrapping, making handmade bows and writing out tags – so for me, this was awesome! Those little toys were so cute, the Barbies brought back memories and the baby clothes? SO precious! After all was wrapped and ready to go, I made arrangements to deliver the gifts with each family. For this part, I called on my good friend and loyal SCE member, Laura! Together, we set out to be the bearers of good cheer!
Our first family was a young couple who had VERY recently given birth to a little baby girl. She was two months premature and only weighed 2.2 lbs!! Both mommy and baby Caliana spent many weeks in the hospital but the good news is that they are both at home getting stronger everyday – Cali even weighs 5 lbs now! We delivered an assortment of blankets, towels, diapers, baby clothes, baby toys, and sweatshirts, along with bountiful gift cards for local grocery stores.
SCE’s second family was a single mom with two little girls, Camila (age 3) and Magaly (age 6). Living in a one bedroom apartment, Mom Cecilia warmly invited us into her home that was decorated quite cheerfully with hand made christmas decorations by the girls. They even had a mini Christmas tree! Little Camila was there and it was so great to see those big brown eyes light up with excitement at all the presents that now sat in front of her. We all chatted for a bit- in Spanish mind you, thank goodness for Laura because my Spanish is decent but in no way is it perfect. We took a few photos and wished them a Happy Holiday!
But before we left, Camila gave a Christmas/Thank you card that her and her big sister made for us. What a sweet thank you card! Here is the translation of what was written inside: “Thank you very much for picking me and my girls out of so many possible families. May God richly bless you. From Camila, Magaly and Cecilia. Much love for everyone.”
Overall, a bit of work but a HUGE reward. It was so worth it and I hope to make this an SCE tradition. Thanks to all who participated – a big hug to Laura for helping with the deliveries and one for Aaron too for letting me turn his living room into Santa’s Workshop for a few days!
Happiest of holidays!
Thanks to Jenn and all the SCE members who helped to make this possible.
Happy holidays from all of the SCE members!