East Bay centers in dire need of gifts for families


To a little girl, even one gift can make a big difference at Christmas. That's the idea at Concord's Monument Crisis Center, which provided breakfast and gifts to 250 Contra Costa County families in need.

"It is very important because it keeps families together and it helps the people with low income," unemployed car mechanic Francisco Rios said.

Besides the breakfast, the center distributed the last of its holiday food supply to a population that's growing by the month.

"We saw more people, new clients this year than ever before, about a 100 new families, every single month since January of 2010," Sandra Scherer from the Monument Crisis Center said.

At the New Hope International Church, the giveaway is still two days away. In its 25th year, the annual Christmas for Everyone celebration will host an estimated 2,500 people Christmas Day.

Besides a hot meal, families can select from gently used clothing and each child will get to pick out a new toy. Earlier this week, organizers worried there wouldn't be enough to go around.

Thanks to a flurry of last minute donations at Christmas for Everyone there are enough gifts for younger children, but there is a shortage of gifts for older kids and teens.

"We need [stuff for] 10 to 12 year old girls. These barrels are empty. We need [stuff for] teenage boys, other than balls, because all we have for them is balls," Mary Perez from Christmas for Everyone said.

Oakley Mayor Jim Frazier is doing his part. He arrived with a truckload of goods from his community, which held its own holiday giveaway last weekend for 250 families.

"In three years, it's doubled. It's got to be the economy," he said.

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