The holiday season can be so full of treasured memories, hearty laughs, and sentimental gifts. It's a time to count our blessings, gather with loved ones, and give generously. Many of us have traditions that have been carried on for generations. Whether it's making Christmas cookies, smelling the fresh pine smell, opening a gift on Christmas Eve, or hanging ornaments, there are numerous reminders of the joy that the Christmas season brings.
But this isn't the case for everyone. Oftentimes, needs increase during the holidays.
Many youth and families in the Great Sacramento Region don't get the full experience of the Christmas season. So, during the Alliance's Difference Makers campaign, there were four different ways the Alliance community was invited to reach those around us. During the holiday season, we collected gifts for at-risk youth, holiday meal gift cards for families, gift baskets, and monetary donations. Compassion Planet, one of our members, was a recipient of some of these items. Compassion Planet's mission is to "empower aged-out foster youth and youth from at-risk backgrounds to overcome personal obstacles, achieve independence and reach their fullest potential through their 2-Step Mentoring Program". The Alliance community was able to donate twenty Walmart and Uber gift cards plus ten Target cards and a few other comfort items to some of the current Compassion Planet youth involved in the mentoring program.
This gesture deeply touched the youth who were recipients of these donations. In a thank you from Compassion Planet, we were told that "It was quite an evening for our young people. Two of them had not had a Christmas for three years and one of them had never had a Christmas, so there were a lot of feelings of overwhelm, and even tears".
Through the generosity and kind-heartedness in our community, we were able to touch significantly the lives of those who haven't experienced the joys of the holidays in a while. What an incredible experience!