NEWMAN - A caring community helped brighten the holiday season for local families and seniors.
The coalition of organizations, supported by community benefactors, worked to deliver holiday food baskets, toys and necessities.
Newman Tots, the local Salvation Army and the West Side Senior Awareness group all played a role in facilitating the holiday distributions.
On Saturday, some 20 families received food, toys and clothing distributed by Salvation Army and Newman Tots.
The Newman Tots program enjoyed an overwhelming response this holiday season, said organizers Aisha Cardona and Christy Diaz, which filled all wishes of nearly 70 youngsters.
“They got everything they asked for and them some,” Cardona explained. “This year we were able to (provide) all the clothes requested. We had a lot of kids who wanted devices and bikes. If it wasn’t donated we were able to purchase it.”
The information for each child served through Newman Tots includes a list of needed items and at least one “want” item that is on the wish list.
“If they ask for any article of clothing they get it. They get to define their needs,” Cardona explaind. “We always ask them for something that they want as well.”
Each child on the list received a coat this year, the organizers said, and school sweatshirts were provided upon request.
Each child will receive multiple toys this year, Cardona and Diaz reported. Books and family board games help fill out the distributions as well.
The support of local businesses, the generosity of community members who took tags from the Newman Tots trees and shopped to provide for their designated recipient, and benefactors who supported a Christmas tree auction were all instrumental in lending a helping hand at the holidays, they said.
Newman Tots attempted to serve additional families this year, Cardona and Diaz told Mattos Newspapers, but a number of families identified as possibly being in need did not register for the program despite an outreach effort that included letters and phone calls.
That meant Newman Tots was able to do more for those who were beneficiaries of the program.
“With it being smaller we are able to go all out for the kids,” Diaz reflected.
Each of the families also got a box of food items and a turkey, made possible primarily by the Newman Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank in Manteca, which handles distributions of the Nob Hill/Raley’s Food for Families donations.
Food boxes were delivered Friday to about 95 senior citizens.
The seniors, courtesy of West Side Senior Awareness, also received a bag of items such as paper towels, toiletries and other necessities.