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Holiday Angels toy drive begins a season of giving

Holiday+Angel+ornaments+with+the+names%2C+ages%2C+and+gift+suggestions+for+children+in+need+decorate+a+tree+in+the+EOPs+and+CalWORKs+office.+The+toy+drive+intends+to+support+the+disadvantaged+children+of+Moorpark+College+students.
Holiday Angel ornaments with the names, ages, and gift suggestions for children in need decorate a tree in the EOPs and CalWORKs office. The toy drive intends to support the disadvantaged children of Moorpark College students.

Holiday Angel ornaments with the names, ages, and gift suggestions for children in need decorate a tree in the EOPs and CalWORKs office. The toy drive intends to support the disadvantaged children of Moorpark College students.

Nicole Szczepanek

Nicole Szczepanek

Holiday Angel ornaments with the names, ages, and gift suggestions for children in need decorate a tree in the EOPs and CalWORKs office. The toy drive intends to support the disadvantaged children of Moorpark College students.

Nicole Szczepanek

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A tree decorated with angels sits in the center of room SSA-107A. Each is adorned with the names of children who are relying on the generosity of faculty and staff to provide what may be their only holiday gift.

State programs CARE and CalWORKs are holding their annual Holiday Angels toy drive to benefit the disadvantaged children of Moorpark College students. From Nov. 13 through Dec. 1, Faculty and staff are encouraged to select an angel and sponsor a child’s gift of less than $25 to decrease the financial burden of the holiday season to support families in need.

The Holiday Angels state the child’s name, age, and suggested gift idea. Between 30 and 40 children are added to the tree every year, but the impact behind the present reaches beyond the holiday spirit.

“I feel like this is important because we really want to show students that we care about them, their family, their success, and getting them to the next level,” said coordinator Marnie Melendez. “If this drive means that one little kid has one more present to open, it will mean the world to them.”

Holiday Angels is one element of the CalWORKs program that has provided opportunities for 26-year-old Business major Rebecca Altamirano, who is a mother and full time student balancing two jobs.

“They’re always supporting us,” said Altamirano. “I like being in this program because I feel like I wouldn’t be able to go to school if I didn’t have their help.”

Alleviating some of the financial pressure on students is what CARE and CalWORKs strive to accomplish.

“We understand that having a roof over their head, and being able to provide for their family is important to them,” said Melendez. “We just want to make it a little easier for them so they can see that they have a community that cares and wants to support them, not only in their educational endeavor, but also in their personal and family life.”

A limit of $25 is recommended to make sure that every sponsored child receives a gift of equal value. Present ideas from children’s parents range from pajamas to books, while older children tend to request gift cards.

“I think it’s nice that they’re making an effort to help people, especially toward the holidays,” said Carly Doderlein, 21-year-old Child Development major.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the toy drive by stopping by the EOPs and CalWORKs office in room SSA-107A and selecting an angel. Students are also welcomed to sponsor a child.

“I feel like it’s important for both sides,” said Melendez. “For us to reach out and embrace our students, and for our students to feel that support from their college.”

Wrapped gifts must be delivered to room SSA-10 by Dec. 1, and will be distributed to the families before finals week.

“We should be grateful for the things we have because some people may not have what we take for granted,” said Doderlein. “Above all, it’s always a good thing to give.”

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