SCV Arts & Entertainment | Volunteers Team Up to “Help the Children”
Video & Story by Gloria Locke
Santa Clarita is a privileged community. But even in “Awesometown” there are local families who are hungry, homeless, and hurting. Help the Children, a Santa Clarita based non-profit, is a year-round food and clothing distribution organization. Most of the volunteers are teens and families who want to make a difference.
“If you were in a bad situation, you’d want someone to help you. So it’s kind of like what we are doing here,” said 18-year-old, Noah Gammon, during his first day volunteering at Help the Children.
“In addition to the families that walk in the doors, we also have a list of well over 20 agencies, churches and non-profits, here in Santa Clarita that we now distribute to as donations permit,” said Michael Santomauro, director of the Santa Clarita warehouse. “We’re trying to help as many people through as many channels as we can with whatever God brings in the door.”
Help the Children relies on private donations and receives no government funding. Local stores such as CostCo and Ralph’s generously donate perishables. Volunteer families from Albert Einstein Academy were out collecting donations stationed at each of the three local Walmart centers.
“It’s for a good cause. It raises good kids. And eventually, hopefully, that translates into productive adults,” says Randy Lloyd, a parent volunteer from Albert Einstein Academy.
As donations roll into the Avenue Tibbitts warehouse, teens from the Valencia High School Help the Children Club unloaded, sorted, and shelved the new food arrivals.
“I started coming to Help the Children over summer and I really enjoyed everything that they did for the people in the SCV. I really wanted to help, too. So I started a club at Valencia high school so I could organize more people and get more money for this great organization,” says Jonathan Song, president of the Valencia High Help the Children Club.
About a dozen other teens were volunteering.
“Well, the news has been talking about the JV baseball incident and how people at Valencia like to start fights. I hope this kind of like cleans the slate for that and puts out a better image for Valencia High,” said Kyle Callahan of the school’s Help the Children Club.
His twin brother saw volunteering as a life lesson.
“It definitely helps broaden our perspective and look at how life would be if we weren’t give such a good life,” says Chad Callahan, also a member of the school’s club.
Donations are being requested as the holidays approach. Thanksgiving dinner items are of particular need. Canned and dried food, clothing and hygiene items are also requested.
Families in need are requested to provide proof of residency and low-income status. For a recommended donation of $3.00 for seniors and the permanently disabled, and $6.00 for other families, clients can fill their grocery bags with as much as $80-$100 worth of food and personal products.
“I still feel as a community we can do more to help those who are in need, but I feel like this is one step to take to give back to those people who don’t have the things that we have,” says Cody Baker, of the Valencia High School Help the Children Club and member at Crossroads Community Church.
According to the organization, 99% of the monetary donations are used to provide food and resources for the clients.
“It’s just a really good thing to do. It makes me feel proud of myself as a human being,” said Quinton Tilley, also from the high school club.
To make donations or for more information, contact www.HelpTheChildren.org or call 661-702-8852.©2014 SCV Arts & Entertainment | SCVTV