Amid thoughts of the COVID- 19 pandemic, and when is it going to end, parents of school-aged children are faced with the worry “What are we going to do for the holidays?”
No matter how hard times get, children still look forward to the Christmas holidays and hopes of having some presents under the tree.
As these are unprecedented times, with some parents laid off from their jobs and some working reduced hours, the nonprofit Holiday Wish is working to fulfill the wishes of many of under-served youth with a Holiday Wish.
Each “wish” includes a warm jacket, socks, a toothbrush, and a wish item valued up to $75, and Holiday Wish strives to include a food gift card.
“It isn’t much, but it is a lot better than what the children will have with funds exhausted or nonexistent,” says coordinator Debbie Franklin.
Holiday Wish has been making children’s dreams come true for 18 years. It is a part of Banning Partners for a Revitalized Community, a non-profit organization, which operates on donations and has no paid staff or overhead expenses.
The screening of families for qualifications, coordination of gifts, delivery of holiday wishes,, through the volunteers.
It was the desire of benefactors Betty Meltzer, Sue Palmer and Kim Little, three local residents, to provide a little something to families that did not have anything for Christmas.
Holiday Wish volunteers have been keeping that promise for 18 years, and have served hundreds of families and children.
The program has changed little; though Holiday Wish now asks families to contribute volunteer work and pay it forward.
This year, with the pandemic, volunteer work is almost nonexistent, and Holiday Wish is waiving that requirement for this year.
Volunteers will also not be wrapping the gifts. Every family that signs up and completely fills out their forms, and returns them no later than Oct. 31 will be added to this year’s list. It will be a first come, first serve basis.
Applications are available online at the Banning Chamber of Commerce, and the Banning School district.
For those who wish to contribute new toys, or make financial donations, checks can be made payable to ‘Holiday Wish’ and sent to P. O. Box 595, Banning, CA 92220. Questions can be emailed to RDFranklin47@verizon.net.
Arrangements can be made to pick donated items, or they may be dropped off at the chamber of commerce at 60 E. Ramsey St. in Banning.
Those who are willing to volunteer can also email the address noted to state where they can be contacted.