Community donates to local organizationBy: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
It may not be Christmas anymore, but the community still keeps giving. The Folsom community is a giving one, especially when it comes to making sure everyone is cared for during the holidays.
The Folsom Cordova Community Partnership puts on the annual event “Christmas in Cordova,” where non-profits, police departments, the sheriff’s department and area churches all come together to make sure families in need don’t go a Christmas without gifts under the tree, according to Robert Sanger, executive director of the organization.
During the last holiday season, the Folsom Premium Outlets put up a tree in the food court with tags listing requested gifts for children in need. As shoppers pass by, they take a tag, purchase a gift and turn it into the main office where they donate all gifts to the Folsom Cordova Community Partnership.
This last year, the Folsom community donated nearly $3,000 worth of gifts to the organization, just through the Folsom Premium Outlets.
While it may be February, gifts are still being donated to the local non-profit. On Feb. 12, Sanger collected one of the last rounds of donations from the Folsom Premium Outlets, as the community continues to drop off gifts. Because the holiday has passed, these gifts will be saved for children for the next holiday season.
Sanger said on average, they serve about 400 families per year and between 800 and 1,000 children get gifts during the holiday season.
“One of the unique things about the event is when families come to the event, they get to shop for their children personally in a room full of unwrapped gifts,” Sanger said. “Who better to pick out the gifts than the parents themselves who know their child best. Once they pick out the gifts, they go to another part of the room where volunteers wrap the gifts for them. When they leave, they have their gifts wrapped and ready to go under the tree.”
Depending on how many donations, each family gets two to three gifts, as well as a family gift which is an interactive activity.
“Also, we promote literacy, so every child will get a book as well,” he said.
When asked what kinds of items the community usually donates, Folsom Premium Outlets General Manger Brenda Smith said the biggest thing is clothing.
“Children grow out of their clothes all the time, so we try to help with that,” she said. “You can never have enough, but some children don’t have any. We do make sure to mix it up and have a bunch of everything, though. People donate learning toys, fun toys, basketballs, coloring books, trucks and even school supplies. We get anything to help the parents out so the kids have something to open under the tree.”
To pull off the event each year, the Folsom Cordova Community Partnership needs roughly 350 volunteers, and Sanger said they have an amazing turn out each year.
“We wouldn’t be successful without our supportive volunteers. They do everything from helping families check in, to assisting in the waiting area, helping with play care while parents are shopping, cooking meals for the families during the event, being personal shoppers, wrapping gifts, and all the way to escorting the families out to their cars or the bus stop to make sure they are safe,” Sanger said.
The organization welcomes donations all year round.
“I just want to thank the Folsom Premium Outlets and Brenda Smith’s leadership in helping support this event because it does serve local families at risk and children in need,” he said.
Smith said the Folsom Premium Outlets chose the Folsom Cordova Community Partnership because they serve the communities closest to them, as well as making sure families are taken care of during the holidays.