By MARY ENGLAND
The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce (LMCC) thanks the public, members, and friends for making this year’s annual senior project and military family toy drive both overwhelming successes.
People drove from throughout the region to donate items for our gift baskets and bags that were delivered on Dec. 10 to the 24 La Mesa homebound seniors. Each year we work with the La Mesa Police Department and the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol to distribute our gifts. The Chamber added several homebound seniors this year, keeping the total number of seniors served at 24 for this holiday season.
Each year, LMCC allocates funds to assist these seniors and were joined by the following financial partners who donated cash and gift cards: AMR, Kyle Nyswonger of Carl Burger Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM World, Darsi Bakker of PenChecks, Inc., Susan O’Shaughnessy of Sungarden Terrace Retirement Community & Adult Daycare, Michelle Huey of Pete’s Place, Lily Pigg of Lily’s Manufactured Homes, Tracey Ferguson, Gloria Shepard, Linda Bethel, Susan McDowell and Bruce and Kimberly McIntyre.
In addition to these cash donations and gift cards, this year we collected canned food, calendars, toiletries, notepads, soaps, shampoos, stationery, clothing, socks tissues, blankets and other articles for a grand total of 3,361 items.
LMCC receives all of the items and wraps them in gift baskets and bags that are delivered to each senior. We thank EDCO, Fully Promoted EmbroidMe La Mesa and Sycuan Casino Resort for donating the bags that make this distribution possible.
In addition to these needed items, we were honored to receive beautiful handmade “stuffed” Christmas stockings from the Pioneers, a volunteer network of AT&T.
These folks worked tirelessly throughout the year making those handmade Christmas stockings, then stuff them with items such as shampoo, conditioner, scarves, body lotion, socks, wafers, lip balm, and more. Adorable stuffed animals were attached to each stocking, as an added bonus! The Pioneers donate these stockings to various organizations during the holidays and we were pleased to receive them for our La Mesa seniors.
We enlisted the help of Maggie Eggers, Sandy Eggleton, Dennis England, and Al Russell to pack the items in their vehicles and deliver them to the Police Department.
The generosity of the public and our members in supporting this project is a testament to the love that we all have for our senior population. Our seniors do not ask for much and accept all that they are given with a grateful heart. We thank everyone who participated in this year’s Senior Holiday Project.
As guests entered BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse on Dec. 7 for the annual Military Toy Drive party, they were pleasantly surprised and delighted by the overwhelming number of toys on those tables. There were dolls, trucks, stuffed animals, cars, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, tea sets, miscellaneous games, bike helmets, robots, Lego sets, and everything in between.
La Mesa Chamber members, friends and sponsors came together to celebrate the strength of our community, in support of our families living in La Mesa military housing. The Chamber has a strong belief that being a leader within a community includes giving back and making a difference.
This is the seventh year that we have assisted these children and their families. We are honored to partner with the following sponsors who helped make this happen: Presenting Sponsor, EDCO, joined by Supporting Sponsors, AMR, Kirk Paving, Inc., and Amanda Hammett Insurance & Financial Services – State Farm.
A grand total of over 950 toys, books and other items were purchased and collected to make the holidays a little brighter for these families. This project is done in partnership with Liberty Military Housing, the group that manages military housing throughout the nation and hosts holiday events for over 2,000 military children in our region. Representatives from Liberty Military Housing, Cindy Farless and Dan Murphy were on hand to mix and mingle.
“We are grateful for the support of the La Mesa Chamber and the entire community, that are dedicated to the La Mesa military families,” Farless said.
We thank Supervisor Joel Anderson who sent his representative, Alicia Corona to present the sponsors with certificates of recognition and surprise the volunteer team, with certificates of appreciation.
Our special thanks to the dedicated volunteers who assisted that evening, the attendees who donated toys, the event sponsors and to the many wonderful community members who dropped off toys and supported this special holiday project!
— Mary England is president and CEO of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce.