El Dorado Hills' Rolling Hills Church youths help needy

More than 180 young people handed out gifts to homeless in Placerville, Sacramento
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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Sometimes all it takes to make someone’s day is a pair of socks. That is one of the lessons learned by more than 180 young people from Rolling Hills Christian Church in El Dorado Hills, who got together late last month to hand out gifts to the homeless in Placerville and Sacramento. Luke Hannemann, 17, a senior at Oak Ridge High School, was one of the 185 church youths who dropped off various items and chatted with the homeless. “It’s good to give, especially to those in need,” he said. “It’s so simple for us to go to Target and pick up something as simple as socks and give it to them. It’s something that simple that is the greatest gift to them.” Heather Simons, student ministries coordinator for the church, said each student brought a new sleeping bag, blanket or package of socks to the church to be handed out to homeless people in downtown Sacramento and Placerville. “Our students were encouraged to visit with the gift recipients as well,” she said. “They sat together and chatted and sang carols with the people they met.” Between the two locations she estimates they helped about 250 to 300 homeless. “For the students, knowing that they were giving to someone who wasn’t going to receive any presents for Christmas was special,” Simons said. “The people’s faces light up when given something as simple as socks.” This year, the youth not only delivered new items of warmth, conversation and smiles but they also served food at a “tent city” in Placerville. This event is a great way for students and adult leaders to pause and think about people who are in need during the holidays; to take a break from the holiday rush and spend some time letting others know they matter and someone cares about them, church officials said. For Hannemann, it was all about the giving. “It’s good to step out of our El Dorado Hills box and give,” he said. The teen spoke with several of the homeless gift recipients and one sentiment resounded. “Most were wanting to make it clear that the gifts mean more than we could possibly know,” Hannemann said.