Dec. 28, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Taking advantage of more than a week between game and classes on break for the holidays, the Santa Clara women's basketball team visited the local Sacred Heart Community Center on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to distribute food and gifts for the holidays to underprivileged families in the area.
On Tuesday our team volunteered at the Sacred Heart Community Center to help with the distribution of food and gifts for the holidays to underprivileged families in the area. Kimee, Tracey and I were a part of the assembly line that put together the food boxes. We spent the afternoon adding oranges, potatoes and onions to the boxes and when we finished we helped stack crates of donated food. I was amazed at how grateful the staff was for our help, but then again it is quite the task to distribute over 2,500 boxes of food! This was truly a rewarding experience for me (and I am sure my teammates feel the same way) to be able to help hundreds of people have a good meal for the holidays.
Tuesday afternoon our team embarked upon a mini adventure filled with hope, work, satisfaction and laughs. Sacred Heart, an organization dedicated to lifting or at least lightening poverty's boulder of burden which rests on the shoulders of a portion of the community, its men and women, its families and its children provided our team with the opportunity to help prepare them for the Holidays.
We were greeted by the smiling faces of Sacred Heart's operators. Eager to put us to work, they split our team up into two groups. Josefina, our leader, was assigned to my group. She looked us over with her soft brown eyes, smiled, welcomed us and said with her cute accent, "Would you like to see all the toys that were donated?" and without allowing us even a second to answer she said, "Come, come I'll show you." So we followed her, through the inner workings of Sacred Heart. The place felt like Santa's Workshop with all of the elves running around preparing for Christmas, with the countdown and everything, volunteers were everywhere and the joyful hustle and bustle of volunteerism spread amongst us and saturated the air with a unique sense of bliss. Josefina was so proud and excited to show us the brand new toys that had been donated and to share with us the happiness of the idea of them being given to those children who otherwise may receive nothing at all.
A room packed with brand new bikes, another piled to the ceiling with gift bags for teens, one crammed from wall to wall with stuffed animals and another fully stocked with any kind of toy you can imagine; these rooms were incredible. I am so thankful to have been able to see these rooms, and just as they made Josefina proud, they inspired us to get to work and be able to take part in this amazing and compassionate act of giving that was going on at Sacred Heart.
As soon as Josefina led us back outside a truck of donations pulled up, the top was lifted, it contents, crates of toys and bikes. Jen, Coach Cozad and Alex, too eager to wait for instructions leapt into the back of the truck and began unloading the toys into the largest plastic bags I've ever seen, and we carried them into the center to be sorted. Once the truck was unpacked our group began the task, which was my personnel favorite, of sorting the toys into groups: infant, games/puzzles, "stocking stuffers," art supplies, trucks and ACTION! Alex took over the clipboard and Chan, Coach Cozad, Coach B and I began yelling out how many and what category the toys fit under. She recorded vigorously as we went through bag after bag of donated toys. We spotted a radio nearby on a shelf and cranked Christmas music; we danced around and laughed at our attempt to categorize every toy (action/action figure was the most common and my favorite).
After a few hours our team was reunited and although a little worn out and a lot hungry we couldn't help but smile. We parted Sacred Heart, took another look at what we had done, received countless thank you's from the workers and left with a deep sense of satisfaction knowing thousands of families will have a Christmas because of this organization and the communities support.