The Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee's Holiday Program - the 50th annual, this year - once again was a huge success, thanks to many generous individuals and organizations.

It is heartwarming to see the Davis community rally each year to embrace neighbors, this time stepping up to adopt 400 families who received gift and food boxes this holiday season.

St. James Church included STEAC in its Giving Tree, which generated many gift cards to be used for the holiday season and throughout the year. And, Salvation Army also donated gift cards to be used for perishable items.

The Davis Lutheran Church generously donated space that was used to screen families for adoption. Additionally, First Baptist Church donated virtually its entire facility and grounds for a week while STEAC volunteers received and organized gift and food boxes, coats and books, all leading up to distribution day when families lined up in the cold from 5 a.m. to noon, waiting patiently to receive their goodies.

Numerous groups, individuals and schools sponsored used coat and book drives - Willett, Chavez, North Davis, Birch Lane, Korematsu, Montgomery, Pioneer, Emerson, Harper, Holmes, Davis High, Da Vinci, DPNS at Danbury, and DPNS at Eighth Street. The Davis High School food drive generated 323 pounds of food and Peregrine School's drive brought in 420 pounds of food.

Organizations and businesses to thank include Lyon Real Estate, Ink Monkey, Aggie Reuse, All Things Right & Relevant and Davis Friends of the Library.

Churches that contributed include First Baptist, St. Martin's Episcopal, Davis Christian Assembly, Grace Valley, Unity and Pole Line Baptist Church.

Businesses that provided bags and boxes at low or no cost included All Star Rentals, Trader Joe's and West Covell Safeway. Finally, Lyon Real Estate agent and STEAC board member Kim Eichorn held an event that collected numerous coats and boxes of cereal.

To complement these warm coats, several groups and individuals knitted beautiful cozy hats. The St. Martin's Prayer Shawl Ministry, the Yolo Knitters' Guild and a kind-hearted woman from the First Baptist Church delivered hundreds of these handcrafted treasures to comfort the hearts and soul of many families and children.

And, Project Linus donated 200 amazing handmade quilts to be distributed throughout the winter season.

Food donations to keep volunteers and program recipients well-nourished were provided by Dos Coyotes and Woodstocks Pizza.

Many groups and organizations banded together to support STEAC or adopt several large families. Much appreciation goes to several UC Davis departments, Davis Korean Church, Schwartz-Levi Inn of Court, Marrone Bio Innovations, Yolo County Democratic Central Committee, Davis Bike Club, Davis Waste Removal and The Cultured Canine.

Maybe the sweetest gesture for this season was Cub Scout Pack III, Den 7, the "Ninja Patrol," who set up camp at The Marketplace shopping center to sell mistletoe to raise funds for the Holiday Program.

A big shout-out goes to The Davis Enterprise for being so responsive, publishing articles and calls for help that generated interest in the program and family adoptions.

None of this could have happened without the support of the Davis community, brightening the lives of many who otherwise go without during this festive season. Your contribution is priceless - not only now, but also in your generous support of STEAC's year-round programs as well.

Finally, it takes a huge team effort and countless hours to implement the Holiday Program. This team consists primarily of roughly 100 dedicated volunteers helping in so many ways - working in the office to match families and adopters, screening recipient families, coordinating and receiving coat/book/food donations, receiving and organizing gift/food boxes at the church, taking boxes out to family cars, and someone to oversee the entire operation.

There are too many to name here but the entire team deserves a huge round of applause, especially the program chairs, Barb and Geoff Engel. Thank you very much!

In addition to helping struggling families, the Holiday Program renews our faith in humanity, reminding us how fortunate we are to live in a town that pulls together to help those in need. Much appreciation to you all!


For more information about the 2017 Holiday Program, here is an article published in the Davis Enterprise:

Christmas comes early for 400 families read article

About the Holiday Adopt-a-Family Program

So many of us take for granted that we can afford gifts and food for our friends and relatives during the holiday season. But there are many Davis families who don't have this luxury - instead, they are worrying about setting aside part of their meager income to purchase gifts and food for their children.

Families are "adopted" by community individuals, families, and groups (office, club or business). An eligible family, who has been screened by a crew of dedicated STEAC volunteers, is matched with the "adopter." Adopters and adoptees remain anonymous to each other. All of the details and deadlines for taking part in the program are provided on an adoption form. The program starts in October, with the screening of the applicants, and accepting submissions from those who'd like to adopt.