San Benito offers 12 days to be generous

Chamberlain's Children Center is one of six nonprofits that will benefit from the 12 Days of Giving initiative.


San Benito County’s 12 Days of Giving will launch at the Lights On Celebration Nov. 24 with residents able to make donations with a $20,000 matching gift that will be split between six nonprofits in the community that offer safety net services.

For the first time this year, the Community Foundation for San Benito County and the United Way staff members decided to pool the generosity that is so abundant in the region for the holidays into a joint effort between agencies that provide food, shelter and support to children in the community.

“We couldn’t be happier with the collaborations that are taking place,” said Stephanie Hicks, the director of outreach and development. “These are the six key organizations that help the most vulnerable families in the community and it is important to spotlight them during the holidays.”

At the Lights On Celebration, local residents can visit Jaime’s Toy and Canned Food Drive Holiday Car Show Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., on Sixth and Seventh streets. The admission to the car show is the donation of a toy or canned food. Monetary donations will also be accepted. The six agencies to benefit from the 12 Days of Giving will have a float in the parade at 5:30 p.m.

“I really want to thank the Hollister Downtown Association for allowing us to kick off the 12 Days at the Lights on Car Show,” Hicks said. “They’ve been very gracious and they are wonderful for the community.”

The agencies that will benefit from the joint effort include the Community Food Bank of San Benito County, Homeless Coalition of San Benito County, Emmaus House, Chamberlain’s Children Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates and the Salvation Army.

For the launch of the inaugural 12 Days of Giving, four local businesses provided funding for the $20,000 match. They include Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, Graniterock, Teknova and Tiffany Ford. Tiffany Ford will also host the finale celebration on Dec. 8 at its property, 300 Gateway Drive. The finale will include pictures with Santa, vintage cars on display, live entertainment and food. The festivities will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are hoping to make it easy for people to give,” Hicks said. “We want to make it fun and make it festive – that is what the Dec. 8 event is all about…It’s our way of thanking the community for being so generous.”

Before the finale, the agencies will hold a big fundraising push on Dec. 1, from noon to 4 p.m., at eight San Benito County stores. Residents will have a chance to donate toys, non-perishable food items, clothing and money to the six partner agencies. The toys will go to the agencies that help children, such as CASA, Chamberlain’s Children Center, Salvation Army and Emmaus House; the food will go to the Community Food Bank; clothing and money will go to all the agencies. Monetary donations will be split equally between the agencies.

“We are extremely excited because everyone was so generous and so cooperative,” Hicks said. “There was no hesitation at the grocery stores or from the sponsors to participate in this. This is definitely in the spirit of the holidays, but it is also very representative of the caring community we have.”

On Dec 1, volunteers will be collecting items and donations at Baler Market, Nob Hill, Target, Hollister Super, Safeway, Kmart, SaveMart and Windmill Market (in San Juan.) Donations can also be made on weekdays at the Community Foundation for San Benito County office, at 829 San Benito St.

Hicks noted that San Benito County has 147 nonprofits.

“It’s an amazing number for our population that just shows that we have a caring community, but we also have a variety of needs in our community,” she said.

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