PALMDALE – Hundreds of low income families in Palmdale will be able to enjoy a wonderful Christmas this year, thanks to South Antelope Valley Emergency Services (SAVES).
SAVES distributed 275 holiday baskets and gift bags to families in need Tuesday, setting a new record for themselves.
“We went 125 over what we did last year,” said SAVES Coordinator Patricia Morales, adding that the effort continues to grow each year.
The December holiday baskets include all the items necessary for a holiday dinner, such as a 12 lb. turkey, stuffing, canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, instant mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, boxed macaroni and cheese, corn muffin mix, canned pumpkin mix, gravy, broth, rolls, oatmeal, juice, fruit, pie crust mix and margarine or butter.
Families also received a toy or clothing item for each child under 18 in their household.
“To make sure that every child has at least one gift to open,” Morales said.
SAVES partnered with local civic organizations this year to provide each family with a gift bag, which contains a board game, popcorn and cocoa.
“So the family can play the board game together and have a complete family night,” Morales said.
Many of the toys were donated from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority’s Stuff-a-Bus effort, while most of the food items came from a food drive conducted by the Palmdale School District, Morales said.
“I think the community comes together for children,” she said. “It’s really important for children not to lose hope or faith that things will get better. They don’t need to know how hard things can be sometimes.”
“My income is nothing this year, so I really really appreciate this,” said Denise Brandon.
Palmdale resident Pam Boyd said she would be “fasting and praying” this holiday season, if not for SAVES.
“There’s a lot of us out here that need help, that are struggling with the kids, and we’re all laid off work,” said Boyd, as she picked up a basket for her family of five. “This is wonderful.”