Each holiday season Empower Yolo is amazed at the outpour of generosity donors, community organizations and businesses show our clients and families in need. The holiday spirit is shown from the Christmas tree and homemade stockings donated every year to the shelter to all the warm clothing, household items, and special gifts given to hundreds of women, children, men and families we serve during the holidays.
Each year Empower Yolo coordinates an “Adopt a Family” program during the holiday season where donors can confidentially adopt clients in need for holiday gifts. This is truly a wonderful program that shows our clients how important they are and that their community supports them. Thoughtful organizations, businesses and community members have supported this program over the years such as Dignity Health – Woodland Memorial Hospital, Woodland Host Lions, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Bella Vie Real Estate, Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, Woodland Soroptimist, Yolo County, UC Davis and new this year the European Wax Center.
Empower Yolo is grateful for the community’s support. There have been more clients and families in need the past two years than we have seen in other years. There are more teenagers in need, mothers with children, and families in transitional housing. Many clients are desperate to provide anything for their children for the holidays.
Over the years, the program has expanded to include other clients in other program areas such housing, legal and therapy. A spin off of “Adopt a Family” where the community can help year-round is by donating to our “Rooms to Go” program for families leaving the shelter or starting over. “Rooms to Go” are items you would need for a specific room in your home such as a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. Sometimes clients leave situations where they have nothing and need to start completely over.
As our holiday programs have grown, our community partnerships have grown strong as well. “Empower Yolo provides critical services across Yolo County, and we are proud to partner with Empower Yolo in our daily work to support the community. The holiday season gives additional opportunity to give back to the community, and Rooms to Go fills a real need,” says Evan Priestley, Director, Health Promotion and Wellness Department, CommuniCare.
Empower Yolo’s partnership with CommuniCare is important all year-round. “CommuniCare Health Centers’ mission is rooted in the underlying philosophy that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Giving back to families in need through the Rooms to Go campaign demonstrates our values as an organization and extends our mission even further into the community,” says Priestley.
Teaching our children to give and making it a priority is what our FIT4MOM’s partnership demonstrates. “Our community of moms feels passionately about getting involved and giving back. We know firsthand that it takes a village to raise a family and when someone in our village needs help, we all feel it and lean in to support one another. Fit4Mom looks forward to supporting Empower Yolo’s Rooms to Go program every year over the holidays,” says Emily Monley, Owner, FIT4MOM Davis-Woodland.
The “Rooms to Go” program is not only important during the holidays, but is important for families in transitional housing all year long. “The Room to Go program is especially dear to our hearts knowing that we are supporting families, often with young kids, who are starting over and need our help. Our donations help provide the basic needs for living on one’s own so that the family can focus on other priorities during this challenging transition. After all, the example of compassion, caring, and giving are the examples we want to share with our children,” says Monley.
Our other holiday spin off programs focus on youths and mothers: “Santa’s Playroom in the Shelter” supports the children residing in the Wallace and Vannucci safe house. These children have lived through or experienced abuse in their home lives. Our child advocates have a dream wishlist for the playroom at the shelter to make the space more inviting and productive for the children staying there.
“Teens for the Holidays” supports teen clients whose needs are often overlooked as many donors enjoy buying gifts for younger children. “Mothers for the Holidays” focuses on providing needs for our mom clients, some who may be coming to the shelter right before the holidays. Many of the mothers at the shelter are so grateful that their children are being adopted for gifts; they don’t expect anything for themselves. It is important to us to help our mom clients enjoy the holidays with their children, especially during this difficult time in their lives.
Davis Community Church (DCC), a long time supporter of Empower Yolo during the holidays and year round supports our teens for the holidays. “It is more important to support people through relationships rather than just in supplies, but what we know about times of struggle is that a gift given freely and in love can also heal the soul,” says Elisa Stone, Minister of Congregational Care, DCC.
Two new community partners, Purpose Nutrition and One Agility in Woodland created a giving tree to engage their clients to donate to “Santa’s Playroom in the Shelter”. “We love supporting and contributing to our community any way we can,” says Myda Delgado, Owner Purpose Nutrition, Woodland. They are also reaching out to other local businesses to give. “We appreciate all that Empower Yolo does and the impact it has on so many families in need. Being able to utilize our businesses to support and impact others’ lives means the world to us. We hope that we are able to inspire others to be of service and give to those in need. Part of our mission statement for Purpose Nutrition is to stand as a source of transformation, lead with love and empower each other to step into their own power, and we feel that what Empower Yolo does for our community is in alignment with who we are. This is also in alignment with One Agility in that they aim to motivate and help build a healthier mind, body, and soul in our Community,” says Delgado.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi. This is the mantra Delgado, Alvaro Delgado, co-owner of Purpose Nutrition, and Curtis Barfield, owner of One Agility strive to follow. They strongly believe in helping others through their businesses. “There are many reasons why helping families in need is so important,” says Delgado. “We believe that if we are blessed with the means to live comfortably then we have the ability to give to those that might not be so fortunate in the moment. When you give to others you add value to their lives and in doing so you add value to yours too. Giving inspires others to give too and for the most part those who have been on the receiving end tend to pay it forward when they have a chance. The cycle of giving makes the world a better place. We strive to be the best we possibly can and inspire those to do so as well,” says Delgado.
The community can get involved in so many ways this year. Support the businesses and organizations that support Empower Yolo. Stop by Purpose Nutrition for a healthy shake and get a donation tag from their giving tree, or join FIT4MOM in the New Year. Other ways the community can help is by donating from general wish lists for our teens and moms for the holidays. Donating grocery gift cards to help provide warm, holiday meals at the shelter is also a wonderful way to give. Gift cards of any denomination are welcome and can be dropped off at Empower Yolo during office hours. If you are interested in any of these areas of giving or have questions contact [email protected] or call (530) 661-6336.
Another way to give is to support Empower Yolo on #GivingTuesday December 3, 2019. Thanks to a generous, anonymous donor we have a 10,000 match! Make a meaningful, year-end contribution and help us sustain our life-changing programs for the community. Help us reach our goal by doubling the power of your donation with the match. Give on Tuesday, December 3, or any time at: empoweryolo.org.
Empower Yolo invites you to join our community partners and find yourself in serving others this holiday season. Coming together as a community to support families in need for the holidays is an amazing way to give back. We are truly grateful to our donors who give so generously and with compassion; they help provide our clients with hope. Donating to our holiday programs is a special way to give back, but its effect of demonstrating to our clients that they truly matter lasts far beyond the holidays.
To learn more about Empower Yolo and our holiday programs go to: empoweryolo.org.