Hot meals, scarves and toys for Bay Area's needy

December 25, 2010 7:40:16 PM PST
The season of giving gave a good showing Saturday throughout the Bay Area. People in need were fed and clothed and children who otherwise would not have seen a gift were surprised by some very generous firefighters.

Tenderloin residents and homeless were treated to soothing music at St. Anthony's Dining Hall in San Francisco. A hot meal and a gift bag were included and everyone received a handmade scarf.

"We had scarves from as far away as Australia, Japan, so we've collected over 7,000 scarves," St. Anthony's spokesperson Shari Roeseler said.

Roeseler says St. Anthony's put out a web appeal last summer asking for handmade scarves for their seniors. They only asked for 2,500.

"I think it's a way and time when a lot of people are struggling to do something, create something with their own hands and to give someone else in need, so its just a beautiful thing that people are doing," Roeseler said.

Firefighters from Station 5 in the Western Addition spent Christmas Day bringing dozens of toys donated by residents and businesses to the Hamilton Family Residents Center on Hayes Street. The children were just as surprised as their parents at the sudden bounty. More than two dozen children were given gifts their parents might not have been able to afford.

The firefighters of Engine No. 1 have an interesting approach to the holiday. They use any emergency call as an opportunity to bring a smile to a child's face.

After responding to a medical emergency, Engine No. 1 firefighters began a hunt for children through the wet streets of the Tenderloin. They stopped at another Hamilton Family Center facility on Golden Gate and surprised more children with toys.

"We usually drive the Tenderloin; we go on a medical call, a building alarm or a fire and then we cruise the Tenderloin handing out toys to the kids," firefighter Keith Onishi said.

Firefighters say they enjoy giving as much as the children enjoy receiving.


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