Employees at the HHSA North Coastal Family Resource Center are putting HEART to work for the holiday season. For the third year in a row, employees are partnering with the Community Resource Center and adopting families or people in need to grant their holiday wishes.
This year the resource center selected five families (totaling 19 people) for employees to put on their Giving Tree. The families selected are either homeless or recently obtained housing though the Rapid Rehousing Program. The Community Resource Center helps them obtain employment, receive supportive services and assists with their overall well-being, but they’re only able to meet their immediate needs and can’t provide holiday presents.
That’s where County employees come in. Either one employee or a whole unit at the North Coastal Family Resource Center selects an ornament from the Giving Tree and adopts that family or person for the holiday season.
The wish lists on the ornaments are filled with things like gift cards or something more specific to the person requesting them like toys or clothing.
Supervising Human Specialist Ivonne Galvan is participating for her second year in a row and adopted a family of seven all by herself. Her favorite part is knowing a family that is struggling will have a nice Christmas by getting their wishes granted.
Human Services Specialist Simona Bentley is also participating for a second year. She chooses to participate because she loves to give to others and understands what it is like to be on that side. She is a firm believer in paying it forward.
The Giving Tree is a project that sprouted from a volunteer-based group at North Coastal FRC called Community HEARTS. This group primarily focuses on the homeless community in the north coastal communities to support those that need their services.
Community HEARTS is completely funded by employees and provides additional resources year-round. Part of that ongoing support is providing jackets and blankets during the winter months; food, diapers and formula for families in need; and basic toiletries for men and women. The idea for the program came from Sherry Brideau, a supervising human services specialist, in November 2016.