Volunteer News | December 23, 2021
Volunteers Make the Holidays Brighter
Dear CRC Volunteer,

I was raised for a large part of my life by a single mother. Our family often struggled financially and I remember vividly that we rarely had toilet paper. If we were at a local store and used the restroom, my sisters and I were instructed to grab extra TP out of the stall to bring home. Napkins from gas stations and coffee filters also worked when needed. It was more important to have rice and beans in the house than something frivolous like two-ply Charmin.

Even as a young married couple, my husband and I were on such a tight budget that I would balk at the price of deodorant, toothpaste or of cereal. Only the bare essentials allowed.

I think in part that is why the CRC Holiday Baskets program is so special to me. When we have plenty it can be easy to forget that there are families who have to choose between paying the rent or providing a holiday treat for their kids. The goal of Holiday Baskets has always been to provide dignity and a fun holiday experience for families who may feel that is out of reach for them. To provide staple food items to offset the cost of bills, and to provide some "luxury" items like plush blankets and coats, that we can take for granted.

While we couldn't offer all the choices of years past, CRC staff, volunteers and donors worked hard to provide the best experience possible. This newsletter highlights the drive-through distribution on December 4th and those who made it happen.

Thank you to our volunteers who work across the many CRC programs to support the work we do. It all makes a difference!

Sara Rosenbaum,
CRC Volunteer Manager
The Latest Volunteer News
Holiday Baskets 2021
Thank you to all the volunteers who gave their time and compassion to the Holiday Baskets program this year! One person who attended the distribution event said: “The whole event was wonderful, from the smiling volunteers to the packages I received, the music and Santa Claus. It was an awesome event leaving me with tears in my eyes. My heart was and is still filled with gratitude. Thank you so much.” 

See below more photos of staff and volunteers at work, and quotes from the families you served!
"I could see in the volunteers the love they have, to do this for the families."
"The volunteers were so friendly ... they were awesome!"
"Holiday Baskets always helps our family to be able to give each other little gifts. The food and gifts are strongly appreciated. Thank you!"

Some fun facts about our 39th Holiday Baskets Distribution:
  • 290 Volunteers gave over 1,800 hours.
  • Hundreds of families and Seniors received food, festive and practical gifts, blankets and resale store vouchers at the drive thru distribution.
  • 75% of participants said they saved money this year because of the program and will be able to put money towards bills as a result.

Check out the video recap of the December 4th distribution here:
Spotlight on: Holiday Baskets Captains

Holiday Baskets enjoyed smooth sailing this year in large part due to the volunteer leadership team ("Captains"). Many of these volunteers work year-round, and many have been joyfully giving their time to the program for decades. We had some new captains step in this year and we had those who pivoted roles for the COVID-modified year.

Captains, staff and board members gathered on Thursday night, December 9 to celebrate a successful 39th year for the CRC Holiday Baskets Program. Rebecca Nussbaum (CPO), John Van Cleef (CEO) and Cathie Byrd (Project Coordinator of Holiday Baskets) all gave inspirational messages and heartfelt thank you's to the volunteers. We are still counting, but Holiday Baskets Captains donated over 800 hours combined to the program in 2021. Thank you!!  
Volunteer of the Month
Hilario Ramales

From Resale Store Manager Robert Pontier:

"As you can imagine, as with many businesses, these last few months have been challenging for us in resale with staffing. Without the volunteers we have working with us in our shops it would have been very difficult. Hilario has been with us a short while but in that time, he has become an invaluable member of our team. Hilario works checkout in the front, receiving in the back and processes clothing and other donations in the work area. He is kind and courteous to customers and staff. He is bilingual which is very beneficial for customer service. His dedication to CRC as a volunteer was extremely helpful in navigating some of the schedule challenges we recently experienced in our Encinitas shop." Congratulations Hilario!!!
Volunteer Needs
No new opportunities at this time. We will begin processing new volunteer applications mid-January. Please check emails and social media for updates!

If you know of anyone in need of food, housing or shelter, please pass along this link to information on how we can help: crcncc.org/integrative-services/
If you have a good story of volunteering, please share with me at srosenbaum@crcncc.org. I can include those stories in future newsletters as an encouragement to our team.  
Community Resource Center
(760) 230-6501| info@crcncc.org | CRCNCC.org