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Serra High School students spread holiday cheer

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Every December, twinkling lights transform neighborhoods, halls are decked and Christmas trees are adorned with ornaments. Excitement fills the air, as children and adults look forward to the traditional comforts of the Christmas season. However, not all families are able to enjoy the busy weeks leading up to Christmas. Money is tight. Parents are between jobs. Presents are few.

That’s why the Samaritan House Adopt-a-Family Program is so important – it supports families in need while showing them that the local community cares. This week, Serra students brought Christmas cheer to 10 San Mateo families.

“The entire school was involved,” noted Campus Ministry Christian Service Director Jackie Schroeder. “Upper division student government students collected gift cards, and lower division student government students collected cans. Campus Ministry organized the Kmart shopping trip, and many other students helped with food sorting and deliveries. It was a school-wide event.”

The Adopt-a-Family Program provides gifts, food and clothing to more than 1,000 local families during the holidays.

“We are so glad that the Serra boys partner with us to provide this wonderful holiday experience for the less fortunate in our community,” said Samaritan House Client Services Manager Robin Fischer.

Each year, Samaritan House assists more than 12,000 low-income residents in San Mateo County. The organization provides food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, worker resources and counseling services – all free of charge. In addition, Samaritan House volunteers deliver more than 145,000 nutritious meals and 14,000 bags of groceries to people in need.

“All the Serra guys who came together for Adopt-a-Family were really fun to work with,” said senior Alex Adamis. “This was my first year getting involved – it would have been great to start freshman year!”

Senior Ben Kusber agreed, “Adopt-a-Family provides an excellent opportunity to give. Being able to give gifts to those who are underprivileged is a great thing."

In San Mateo County, one in 10 receives food assistance, and one in six is “food dependent,” meaning that he or she sometimes receives help.

"Adopt-a-Family is a fantastic way to get the entire school involved in a charitable act of giving at Christmastime,” Schroeder said. “The students really have fun with it, especially knowing that they are volunteering their time to families in need. The work involved with making this happen reminds us of the power of giving, and how the ripple effects can be felt by everyone."

In addition to Adopt-a-Family, Samaritan House employees oversee numerous programs that partner with local residents and organizations to provide back-to-school clothing and supplies, bicycles, tax preparation assistance, empowerment classes and more. If you are interested in volunteering, please call (650)341-4081.

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