Christmas came early this year to the hardworking residents of Maple Street Shelter
The drab multipurpose room of the Old Women’s Jail was changed into a magical place full of green garlands, colored lights, fresh wreaths, elegant tables, delicious home cooked food, sparkling cider, balloons, personalized stockings and Christmas cards, $100 gift cards, Christmas carols, a lovely creche and a beautiful Christmas tree.
53 San Francisco and San Jose location members and volunteers in 390 hours, provided the decorations, food, drink, gift cards and love the residents so needed at Christmas time. They were aided by 30 elves from St. Raymond’s School under Kathleen Hamilton’s direction who decorated the stockings and wrote personal Christmas cards, plus 80 boxes of chocolates donated by See’s Candy, Inc.
The residents enjoyed the appetizers and drinks along with the Christmas music sitting around their beautiful tables before dinner. Some visited with our members and volunteers and shared their stories during dinner. Most had at least two helpings of the mouthwatering food (turkey, ham, tri-tip, stuffing, gravy, mashed & sweet potatoes, broccoli & green beans, green salad, fruit salad, pies and Christmas cookies). They loved the caroling, being called up individually by Santa to receive their presents and the surprise boxes of See’s chocolates at the end.
As we were cleaning up a young woman came over to me and asked if, the night before, I’d brought them the tree and the lights and ornaments for the residents to put on it. When I told her I had, she told me that she had been so sad yesterday that she couldn’t stop crying. Then she said, when she walked into the multipurpose room and saw the tree, she was overcome with joy and new hope. She asked if she could give me a hug.
She’s just one example of the many men and women to whom we brought joy last Thursday. Thanks to all our generous members for doing the Lord’s work and making this wonderful experience possible for the residents.
Bill Regan, GCM