Outpouring of Generosity Helps Families Enjoy the Magic of the Season
Tis the season for acts of kindness and generosity. And that is just what our community of donors and volunteers showed to Raphael House families this holiday season. This year 236 families, our largest number ever, had presents to open on Christmas Day thanks to everyone who participated in our Adopt-a-Family program. Families were adopted by 75 individuals and by employees from approximately 60 different Bay Area companies. More than 30 volunteers helped out with collecting, sorting, and distributing the gifts to families.
Members of the San Francisco Fire Department with District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell and family after dropping off gifts for Raphael House families.
One of our corporate partners, Genesys, took an especially creative approach to Adopt-a-Family this year by creating a special North Pole Hotline that the kids living in our residential shelter were able to call to leave messages for Santa about how they’ve been and what they would like for Christmas.
The Guardsmen, as they’ve done for many years, donated several Christmas trees for our residential shelter. Encore Consumer Capital donated a giant gingerbread house for the family dining room, and Joe and Kimberly DeLucchi donated several smaller gingerbread houses that the kids and their parents got to enjoy decorating together.
Parishioners from Calvary Presbyterian, came together to help sew stockings that the parents at Raphael House decorated during house meetings to surprise their children with on Christmas Day—a long-time tradition at Raphael House. The kids woke Christmas morning to find their stockings stuffed with care. The day got even better when, thanks to Steve and Jennie Ornbaun, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived on site after breakfast to hand out the presents to each of the kids.
Earlier in December, Raphael House kids enjoyed themselves at the annual Holiday Heroes event, a festive evening of fun at AT&T Park for Bay Area families and children in need, presented by the Wender Weis Foundation for Children. The organization, along with Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, provided a number of tickets to our families. The kids enjoyed special access to the SF Giants’ dugout and batting tunnels, ballpark food, various fun activities such as teddy bear stuffing, and the exclusive opportunity to meet local sports athletes.
Maverick Capital hosted their annual holiday party for the kids in our Tutoring Club, providing a cookie decorating activity, gift bags, and waterproof jackets and shoes for the kids. Abbot Downing and Bloomberg also held coat drives to ensure that our families are ready for winter.
Several other volunteers signed up throughout the month of December to help with cooking before and on Christmas Day. Raphael House Board member and long-time volunteer Frank Gutierrez will bring a group of friends together for his annual tradition of hosting a special New Year’s Eve dinner for the families staying in our residential shelter.
Said Nicole Grey, one of the moms whose family benefited from this year’s Adopt-a-Family program:
We have love beyond words for you and everyone that participated in this gift-giving season to those less fortunate. Again, we’re so extremely grateful and I truly pray that one day we’re able to give back, because we know what it’s like to not have things you want or even need to survive. We know what it’s like to tell your child they can’t have something because you can’t afford it right now, and the look they give you each and every time, breaks your heart. Thank you for giving them the smiles that children deserve. And warming the hearts of us all. Many blessings to you and a Happy New Year.
Several local businesses and donors also showed their appreciation for the work of Raphael House staff by contributing food and prizes for a festive staff holiday party, including: Advantest, Balboa Café, Fairmont Hotel San Francisco, HPD Public Relations, Moss Adams, Presidio Social Club, Sephora, and Kate and Ted Smith.
The list of support we’ve received this holiday season extends beyond the examples listed here. We are truly grateful for everyone who contributed to making the holidays special at Raphael House. We wish everyone a Happy New Year and look forward to our work together in 2016, helping at-risk families achieve brighter futures.