Huntington Beach, CALIF. – December 15, 2022 – Despite the possibility of rain, it was all sunshine and smiles as The Priority Center successfully distributed hundreds of toys, games, gift cards, clothing, shoes, and other essential items to some of Orange County’s neediest families.
The holiday gift distribution took place Saturday, December 10, 2022, as part of The Priority Center’s 19th Annual ‘Families Helping Families’ holiday campaign, from 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at Freddie Georges Production Group (FG/PG), 15362 Graham St., Huntington Beach, California. Approximately 50 volunteers, Priority Center staff, and board members distributed nearly $90,000 worth of presents to children and gift cards to adults.
The event capped off months of planning and organizing, which included finding donors and sponsors for the nearly 250 families that The Priority Center services. More than 95% of children and families receiving The Priority Center services live below the federal poverty level. As such, the holidays can be a stressful and challenging time for them. Families Helping Families pairs program participants with individuals, corporations, and businesses throughout Orange County through “adoption.” Whether these partners donate financially or purchase presents on children’s wish lists, all items are collected, sorted, and readied for the all-important distribution day.
Although the number of families participating in this year’s event was on par with last year, the need is greater than ever. According to Lisa Fujimoto, CEO of The Priority Center, a significant additional contributor this year has been the economy.
“We are still seeing the devastating effects of the pandemic, which has led right into one of the worst economies (with inflation) we have seen in years. As a result, families are struggling to make ends meet. Trying to pay rent and bills and put food on the table supersedes spending money on presents. It’s a luxury that many of these families do not have; in many cases, these might be the only presents these children receive. It is worth all the time and effort if we can help by meeting some basic needs, giving some presents for the holidays, and bringing a few smiles.”
Board member Madison Spach, who did the Santa honors at this year’s event, echoed the sentiment.
“I loved greeting all the children that were in the vehicles. Watching their reactions and seeing the joy on their faces brought joy to my heart. I would love to do this again next year!”
The Priority Center is located at 1940 E Deere Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92705.