LATHROP – The Lathrop Lions Club wanted to do something for Christmas that would leave a lasting impression on families in need.
And when they dropped off enough presents Friday morning for 30 displaced children at the Haven of Peace Women’s Shelter in French Camp, they were doing exactly that.
The three-year-old service club decided to sponsor the children as well as the 20 women currently housed at the shelter instead of searching for needy families in the community, said club president Linda Rose. They couldn’t think of a better place to pool their resources than a facility that caters to women and their children that don’t have anywhere else to turn.
“These are women and children that don’t have a home right now, and we thought that we could do more good by focusing on bringing some holiday cheer to them,” Rose said. “As a club we thought that since the women rarely get everything and the children are lonely and lost, this would be the best place for our resources.”
After receiving a wish list outlining what each of the children would like to see under the tree on Christmas morning, Rose and her husband Jerry were joined and fellow Lions Jim and Arnita Montiel on a shopping excursion that yielded enough presents to fill her entire living room with gifts. The funding was allocated from the group’s budget, and also went to get each of the 20 women a gift as well.
Rose said she and her husband have long collected soaps and shampoos from hotel rooms on trips taken throughout the year and when pooled with others that she collects from friends creates a gift basket big enough to give the women at the shelter something nice to have.
They’ll once again receive that basket in addition to a full Christmas meal that they can prepare in-house.
“We thought that they might like to prepare it themselves rather than have a store bought meal brought in for them to make it feel a little bit homier,” Rose said. “We really hope that this might be something that we can do every year. As a group we talked about what we can do as a Christmas event and we thought this would be a great idea – it’s what we worked all year for.
“We just hope that they enjoy it and that it makes the day a little bit more normal for them.”