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Diegueno Middle School Rallies to Help the Needy

The school did a food drive for the Encinitas Community Center's Holiday Baskets program. The center still needs donations and jackets for kids ages 1-4.

Courtesy Maureen"Mo"Muir
Courtesy Maureen"Mo"Muir
The following was submitted by Maureen"Mo"Muir

This year, Diegueno Middle School's Principal Bryan Marcus inspired the whole school to bring in food goods for the  Community Resource Center. Friendly rivalry sprung up among teachers. Principal Marcus was able to engage teachers, parents and children in the food drive. The Holiday Basket program became a community educational experience.

After the drive was over, the ASB student organization, under the professional leadership of teacher Kellie Reise, visited CRC’s Holiday Baskets program at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  An increasing number of schools and youth groups have regularly scheduled field trips to Holiday Baskets since the tours were introduced in 2007.  Diegueno is traditionally one of the first groups to provide donations for Holiday Baskets, and is among more than 200 groups and organizations that partner together to make Holiday Baskets possible every year.  

Suzie Colby, the Director of Public Relations and Development for CRC met and led us through a tour of the program. Here are some surprising facts: 

  • they don't give out tasty turkeys as much. The CRC gives out more whole chickens these days as an option because their clients may not know how to cook a turkey and may not have a place to cook one. 
  • An estimated 1,700 families (equating to more than 7,200 individuals, half of whom are children) are helped in the immediate community. Most of the adults in these families are not unemployed, but may have lost a second or third job.  Many have to choose between food and heating their homes or maybe paying rent. 
  •  In these cold brisk days, children in the program come into the fairgrounds on distribution days with no jacket--just short sleeves.  
  • This year’s distribution is projected to distribute nearly 50 tons of food.   
  •   There are actually no “baskets” distributed.  Holiday Baskets started as a small basket distribution to a few families 31 years ago, but it is now a shopping experience.

CRC gives out food and clothing in the most honorable way. Not one family member feels diminished in any way.  They let each family choose one jacket or coat for every family member.  Each item is on rounders- like a department store. Each parent is able to choose one new toy for each of their children- Suzie stated that many parents have broken down and cried because their child's one wish for a special toy has been fulfilled.  The children and teens in the program may not otherwise get anything for the holidays. The families are able to keep their pride during this hard economic time because they are shopping like everyone else.  The only difference is that they do not pay at check out—that is a gift from our community. It really is an amazing organization.  

CRC is still in need of jackets in the 1 to 4 year age group and all sizes for adults. They are also still collecting new or used bikes and blankets as well as any type of non-perishable food.  With a record number of children expected this year, CRC is also in need of new, unwrapped toys for any gender or age.  The preferred deadline for items is December 15th.  For more information on ways to help, please visit www.crcncc.org or call 760-230-6304.

Donations (including Holiday Baskets items) May Be Dropped Off At:

Carlsbad Thrift Store- 1055 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Encinitas Thrift Store- 111 C Street, Encinitas, CA 92024
Oceanside Thrift Store- 1405 S. El Camino Real, Oceanside, CA 92054
All CRC Thrift Stores accepting items 10AM-4PM Daily (Closed Nov. 28 & 29)

Social Services Office, 650 Second Street, Encinitas, CA 92024
8:30am-4:30pm,  Monday-Friday (closed major holidays)
*For large donations at this location, please call (760) 753-8300 to schedule an appointment*

To Schedule a Driver to Pick Up Your Items:
Please Call (760) 753-1156For Fairgrounds Drop Off Dates/Times for Holiday Baskets Only -
Please contact (760) 230-6304 or info@crcncc.org

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