Share Your Holidays effort gets under way
Factors combine to create need for more donations
By Maureen Robertson
Cuts in food stamps and other aid, combined with rising food prices, are creating an increased need at Ramona Food and Clothes Closet, a grassroots organization that’s been helping those in need in Ramona and the backcountry for the past 30 years.
“We gave out a record number of food bags in the last month,” DeeAnn Anderson, service manager and volunteer coordinator for the nonprofit headquartered in the Thrift Store at 773 Main St., said on Friday.
The increase in need comes as the nonprofit starts its annual Share Your Holidays effort.
“This worthwhile program helps others enjoy the spirit of the holiday season with a toy distribution for children and provides food boxes for low-income households,” noted Jae Marciano, Ramona Food and Clothes Closet manager.
With a mission to assist low-income families year-round with emergency food, clothing, furniture and medical supplies, the Food and Clothes Closet initiates an additional effort each year to provide toys for children ages 1 to 12 and a large box of non-perishable food for the holidays.
To qualify for the toy distribution, an adult family member must present a current picture identification, documentation of all household income and proof of residency in Ramona, Julian, Santa Ysabel, Ranchita, Warner Springs or Borrego Springs. Income includes employment, Social Security, disability, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, food allowance, unemployment compensation and child support.
Applications for the Share Your Holidays program will be taken at the Food and Clothes Closet Service Office from Monday, Dec. 2, through Friday, Dec. 6, from noon to 4 p.m.
The toy distribution will be held on Thursday, Dec. 19, at the Food and Clothes Closet Thrift Store at 773 Main St. Parents will receive an invitation to visit the toy shop at an appointed time. They are asked not to bring their children.
“It will be set up like a toy shop,” said Anderson. “They (parents) can come and shop, but they won’t need money. They can pick the kind of things their children would like.
“I think it’s going to be a fabulous day.”
Large boxes decorated for the holidays are visible throughout town in stores, markets, schools and the community center. Donations of new unwrapped toys for 1- to 12-year-olds and nonperishable food are requested.
Anderson has a few food recommendations: macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, jelly, any kind of crackers, and biscuit or muffin mix.
“We know how much people want to help others around the holiday season,” said Marciano.
Ramona Food and Clothes Closest always needs volunteers to help at the store. Those who don’t have time to volunteer might have gently-used merchandise for the Thrift Store.
Donations for Share Your Holidays and the Thrift Store are welcome at the store drive-through donation area Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monetary donations also are welcome.
All donations are tax deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The tax ID number is 33-0005939.
More information is online at www.foodandclothescloset.org.
For more information on how to help, call 760-789-4458.
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- Share Your Holidays campaign in full swing
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