Sofia Díaz (left) and Kriss Valentina Díaz receive gifts at North Marin Community Services’ holiday event where toys and gift cards were distributed. –Photo by Omahar Díaz
North Marin Community Services hosted its 49th Annual Holiday Share Food and Toy Distribution via curbside pickup Dec.18. Families without cars were also served.
This community event for low-income and very low-income families was made possible through the generosity of 150 donors who sponsored the participating families that were qualified by North Marin Community Services’ recently expanded case management team of eight professionals.
Nearly 80 volunteers participated by preparing gifts for the event, setting up and distributing gifts, food and bikes to grateful families. Staff and volunteers wore personal protective equipment and greeted families onsite at the outdoor retail/restaurant curbside service, which was approved by the County of Marin.
The event ensured that 468 children from 226 families would be able to participate in the magic of the holiday season. Toys, bikes, stuffed animals, Safeway and Target gift cards, and food for Holiday Share participants were donated by individuals, businesses and community partners, including the Novato Fire Foundation, Novato Fire District, Novato Police Department, City of Novato, Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, Sutter Health, Bank of Marin, Redwood Credit Union, Novato Rotary Club of Ignacio, Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise, Rotary Club of Novato, Novato Lions Club, Equip Sports, Grocery Outlet, Costco, Wednesday’s Gift, Valley Memorial Park Cemetery and Funeral Home, Desire 2 Inspire and other generous event sponsors.
A family that recently came from Peru was among the beneficiaries.
“We had to live the hardest moments of the pandemic here, far from our loved ones, far from our friends and far from our country and our culture,” said father Omahar Diaz. “However, we have found people who have been our support, people with great warmth who have been guiding and supporting us in everything we need. My family and I are deeply grateful for the entire team at North Marin Community Services for sharing these gifts with my daughters that filled them with happiness. I imagine that many families are feeling the same way as me now and I hope that these actions continue every year because the true value of Christmas is to fill us with peace and happiness and gifts are only a means to achieve that joy that fills the soul and allows us to move forward.”
North Marin Community Services has responded to the need for safety net services by expanding its basic needs supports including emergency rental assistance, food distribution through its weekly food pantry and mental health care services. The organization served 11,174 people last year — helping to keep hundreds of families and adults in their homes and out of homelessness and ensuring seniors and families did not face hunger. In 2020-21, NMCS distributed 11,972 bags of food: a 106% increase from the previous fiscal year, in partnership with SF-Marin Food Bank.
“Helping others in need is core to who we are as an organization, and to who we are as a community,” said CEO Cheryl Paddack. “At a time when we are working to lift up low-income families trying to recover from effects of the pandemic, it is an honor to deliver the gift of the holiday season and provide hope as families enter 2022.”
Sebastian Podesta enjoys a moment with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. –Photo by Samantha Guard
Mr. and Mrs. Claus distribute gifts to children at North Marin Community Services’ holiday event Dec. 18.
-Photo by Desire to Inspire Studios Foundation