Mission accomplished this challenging holiday season for Sutter Middle School and Rolling Hills Middle School Hands4Hope Club participants who set out to bring much needed joy, warmth and kindness to local seniors-in-need. With a combined total of 50 throw blankets, 410 items, and more than 90 homemade cards, the youth filled 40 large bags to benefit the Powerhouse Ministries Holiday Gift Bags for Seniors project.
“What I like about this project is that it’s able to help people who need it right now,” said Sofia Yasutake, a 6th grader at Sutter Middle, “and, since they are not able to go out, it’s a way to help those who need it. I really like doing that.”
According to Powerhouse Volunteer Karen Moosterman, coordinator for the Holiday Gift Bag event, the recipients are often isolated, struggling financially, or have the burden of a chronic disease such as cancer. She added the gift bag may be the only present many receive this holiday season.
Items collected include games, puzzles and adult coloring books for entertainment, as well as much needed accessories for keeping warm like gloves, socks and scarves. Each bag was also packed to the brim with necessities such as lotion, lip balm, and body wash. However, Moosterman said some of the most appreciated items are the touching handmade cards created by the youth.
While the Hands4Hope youth at Rolling Hills were able to collect donations outside their school office, the Sutter Middle youth had to think outside the box. Four of the students volunteered at two evening drop off events in front of the Powerhouse Ministries office. The events provided a safe, socially distanced way for Sutter Middle School students and their families to drop off donations for the gift bags.
Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference Board member Evangeline Scott also offered her business Reliance Home Mortgage as a drop off location for items and shared the flyer created by the Sutter Middle School Hands4Hope students on social media. Such partnerships are a great boost for the youth projects, especially when traditional methods such as collecting donations in classrooms are not available.
“The reason I came out here for two nights,” said Surbanni Gill, a 6th grader at Sutter Middle who helped collect items and assemble bags at the drive through events, “is because I knew it would help people who don’t have the access to get stuff that they need.”