Over 250 Homeless Receive Christmas Meals and Gifts from Stanbridge Santas

Over 250 Homeless Receive Christmas Meals and Gifts from Stanbridge Santas
Stanbridge student hands out sleeping bags to those in need.

During the holiday season, Stanbridge College REACH amplified its efforts to help the homeless in Orange County. Staff came together to raise funds to purchase new sleeping bags, shoes and socks for over 250 homeless people in Costa Mesa. In November, volunteers from Stanbridge surveyed those in attendance at Lighthouse Ministries to find out shoe sizes and special needs for each person.

The donations are meant to aid the needy through the upcoming winter months. In December, Stanbridge College students and staff volunteered their time to wrap and personalize each gift. On December 22nd, volunteers from Stanbridge College helped distribute the gifts at the monthly Serving the Homeless event at Lighthouse Ministries. In addition to receiving the gifts, the people in attendance were served a warm Christmas meal prepared and served by Stanbridge students and staff. Stanbridge College also funded a visit from Santa for the children at the event.

Over 250 Homeless Receive Christmas Meals and Gifts from Stanbridge Santas
Students served a warm Turkey dinner to help the homeless celebrate the holiday.

Stanbridge College Vocational Nursing student and REACH volunteer, Cherish Nunnally, talked about her experience and her personal act of kindness at the event.

“Before I got to the shelter, I bought a bunch of candy and toys to donate to the children. I gave a little boy a packet of cars. As I was serving turkey to the people, I saw the little boy and a couple of other kids playing with the cars I brought him as if it were the coolest toy ever made. It totally humbled me and made me realize it’s the little things that matter the most!”

Another volunteer was Jennifer De Haro, part-time nursing student: “I experienced joy being able to help all those people in need and seeing how happy they became not only when receiving food but the kind words as well. What I really liked about this event was the sense of community and commitment all the people that helped had.”

Stanbridge College REACH – Beyond the Classroom™ consistently supports the homeless and needy in Orange County. For the past two years, each month, Stanbridge provides donations of meals and volunteers to help serve food for free to the homeless in Costa Mesa. In early 2012, Stanbridge College ran donation drives to give them suitcases, duffel bags, and bus passes. REACH also partnered with Mercy House to help provide volunteers to staff their Cold Weather Emergency Shelters in Santa Ana and Fullerton.

Further media coverage of the event was covered by the LA Times Daily Pilot and can be read here.

To view photos from the gift wrapping and meal events, please visit Stanbridge College on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stanbridgecollege.

Continue to REACH

Stanbridge College REACH is always looking for volunteers to help serve a meal to the homeless on the fourth Saturday of each month. To sign up to volunteer for the next REACH event, please visit www.stanbridge.edu/reach.