Christmas can be lonely for many individuals and families in the San Gorgonio Pass area.
For the past 30 years, Winter Wish has worked to ensure that children and adults get presents and enough food to make this season a happy one.
Pam Dopf, Winter Wish’s new chairperson, gave Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club members an overview of the long-time program at its Nov. 7 meeting.
Winter Wish provided for 192 families and 595 children last year.
Dopf said the program began at Wellwood School when the principal saw a need in the community.
”The principal said, “I have a family that is homeless and they need some jackets,” Dopf recalled.
The principal contacted the Soroptomists in Beaumont and Winter Wish was on its way to helping the community.
This year, in 2019, Winter Wish will provide for 105 families and 354 children, but those numbers can change.
Name tags with the first names of children in need are available at the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, Shear Wonders, Cherry Valley Nails, Beaumont Unified School District office and Beaumont Presbyterian Church.
People can choose one or more tags to buy presents for, Dopf said.
Families are recommended and Winter Wish also receives names by word-of-mouth.
A questionnaire is filled out for each child, who receives two clothing choices and two toy choices.
They also receive blankets, towels and washcloths.
People take the name tag with the child’s Christmas wish on the back and buy the gift, wrap it and bring it back to the chamber office by early December.
Pass Area Patchers donate quilts made by members and they are distributed to Winter Wish in Beaumont and Holiday Wish in Banning.
Interact members, under the supervision of Bruce Murrill, conduct a food drive with boxes set at various locations to be filled with perishable and non-perishable food items. The post office assists with the food collection drive.
Each family receives a $20 Staters gift card., as well as a turkey.
More than 100 volunteers help out with Winter Wish.
Pastor Scott Mason, of Beaumont Presbyterian Church, said his church has participated in Winter Wish for the past eight years.
Former Winter Wish chairperson Donna Lester is a member of Beaumont Presbyterian Church.
Church member Betty Goff handles the Winter Wish requests for the church, Mason said.
“Everyone is very enthusiastic about it,” he said.