Shelter from the Storm
Pictured above are volunteer and staff participants at the annual Shelter from the Storm Holiday Party: Angelina Coe, Executive Director; Anna Able, Samantha Paixao, Andrea Carter, Bonnie Cloer, Raymond McCallister, Laynee Goodstein, Lori E. Jonasson, Joyce Bulifant, Deane Bohenek, Kathy Strong, Santa - Ed Young.
COMMUNITY JOINS HANDS TO PROVIDE HOLIDAY PARTY FOR SHELTER RESIDENTS
Palm Desert, CA (December 14, 2013) –Two dozen families were guests of honor at the annual holiday party held December by Shelter from the Storm. The day of good cheer has been hosted by the organization for more than fifteen years to assist its clients who are victims of domestic violence. Generous donations and strong community support from across the valley made the event possible.
Executive Director, Angelina Coe, thanked all community partners and supporters of the holiday gift drive stating, “Together we were able to make the holiday season merry and bright for the families who were able to partake of the festivities. Thank you all for your generosity!"
Among the highlights of the day was a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Family photos were taken and clients received specially-selected gift bags. The picture-perfect setting for the Santa Room was provided by Shari Kelley of Shari Kelley Events, a long-time supporter of clients at Shelter from the Storm – especially the children.
The living room was beautifully decorated with red and green, oversized tree ornaments on the walls and windows and giant, colorful packages below a live tree. All of this was provided and set up by Raymond McCallister of Party Lab in Palm Springs. Mr. McCallister is a member of the Shelter from the Storm Board of Directors.
A festive table spread with a light luncheon prepared by the clients themselves greeted guests on their trip to “Santa's Toy Room” and “Mom's Gift Shop” located in the shelter school. Members of the Sheltering Sisters Auxiliary joined shelter volunteers and employees who guided small groups of bright-eyed children into Moms' Gift Shop.
The youngsters chose several gifts from among a wide selection of slippers and pajamas, jewelry and cosmetics, handbags, and household items – all donated by supporters of Shelter from the Storm. As the selections were made, other volunteers stood ready to wrap each gift in pretty holiday paper for the children.
Meanwhile, in Santa's Toy Shop, each mother found an array of popular toys and clothing for infants, children, and teens. Enthusiastic moms secreted armfuls of favorites inside large bags in order to surprise their families on Christmas Day.
“I don't know what I would've been able to do for my kids for Christmas if I weren't here,” admitted one mother who sought safety at the emergency shelter only one month ago. Her two young daughters, both students in the shelter's schools, received gifts they had put on their wish list for Santa.
Another client with a teenage daughter and an infant remarked, “Being here during the holidays helps take away a little of the sadness. We were all like one big family during the party!”
Shelter Co-Directors Corrine Gutierrez and Maricela Ponce have planned and coordinated this holiday activity at the shelter for a number of years. “We do this because of the moms and kids. It's the best part of our job!” remarked Ponce. “The benefit I get from working here is seeing the clients' eyes light up when they open presents they didn't expect to have.”
After the gifts were selected, the families headed for the Santa Room, where Mr. Claus himself waited to take family photos assisted by Mrs. Claus. Ed and Paula Young have donated their time for the shelter children in these very special, specific roles for many years.
“I would like to thank everyone who participated this year,” said Gutierrez. “We thank you for supporting our shelter when we know times are difficult and there are so many other needy organizations out there.”
Among the many supporters who provided gifts, food, time, and other donations for the holiday event were:
Shari Kelley – Shari Kelley Events
Raymond McCallister – The Party Lab in Palm Springs
Mr. & Mrs. Ed Young
Sheltering Sisters Auxiliary
Cathedral City City Hall
La Quinta City Hall
Live Well Clinic – La Quinta
Palm Desert City Hall
Cactus Flower – Palm Desert
Wells Fargo Bank – Palm Desert
Chase Bank – Palm Springs
Palm Springs City Hall
Wells Fargo Bank – Palm Springs
Raymond/Lawrence – Palm Springs
Rancho Mirage City Hall
Rancho Mirage Library
These donations help provide toys, personal items, and clothing necessary for residents at both the shelter and transitional housing, and give us “a little something extra” to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions that may occur while clients are with us.