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Community Groups Combine In Holiday Giving
Tree 2
Anna Maria Chavez and her kids, Yoselin, and Antonio received a Christmas tree courtesy of the Central Valley Community Resources group. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The season of giving is here and Central Valley Community Resources (CVCR) answered the call. CEO, Darlene Barber-Martinez along with the board of directors, CFO Arlene Figueroa-Morales, board member, Diana Gonzalez, board member Miranda Gutierrez and board member, Silmia Thorn Sermeno had their first Christmas tree giveaway and participated in a toy giveaway earlier this month.

Organizers and volunteers began sorting the toys for pre-registered families at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13. The giveaway began at 1 p.m. where families picked up a bag of toys and stocking stuffers.

The gym was filled with cheer at Cardozo Middle School as the volunteers shared some laughs and the recipients shared some smiles.

Parents were given a chance to win a bike for a boy or girl between four and six-years-old. The drawing was held during the Toys for Tots giveaway where Joel Monguez, 5, and four-year-old Nivea Rodriguez were the lucky recipients.

The toy giveaway is hosted through a collaboration of groups including Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots, Central Valley Community Resources, Casa Del Rio, Norma Torres-Manriquez, Golden Valley Health Center, Living Grace Church, and Valley Improvement Projects.

Volunteers also stepped up from several different groups within the community like the Girl Scouts, Central Valley Community Resources, Riverbank School District, Living Grace Church, Soul Patch Tattoos, Community Praise Tabernacle, Boy Scout Troop 1100, Riverbank High School, and the After School Program of Casa Del Rio.

Taking point on the project was Bianca Lopez, Valley improvement project leader, and CVCR CEO, Barber-Martinez.

“This was the first time Toys for Tots program has been to Riverbank and the day was very successful,” Barber-Martinez said. “Even though families were asked to pre-register no one was turned away.”

There were 120 families served and 300 children with approximately 42 volunteers that assisted in distributing toys throughout the day.

The giving continued on Sunday, Dec. 14 when Barber-Martinez, Figueroa-Morales, and Gonzalez arrived on scene at the SaveMart tree lot to give four families Christmas trees for the holiday season. This is the first year the CVCR has given away trees for families in need.

Deborah Brouillard was one of the recipients, who had endured the loss of family members in a matter of months. With several children, foster and adopted, she was overwhelmed and very grateful to have received the tree.

Another family of four that has encountered some hard times was Anna Maria Chavez and her two children, Yoselin and Antonio Guzman. They also received a tree from the CVCR group and were there early in anticipation of this kindness.

Norman Pizarro selected a tree for his family of four just in time for Christmas.

Gonzalez selected a tree for a family that was unable to make it to SaveMart because they had no means of transportation. The tree was loaded into her truck and the tree delivered the same day.

Barber-Martinez explained that this was a way to give back to the community and help the families that are in need.

“I also need to thank the following organizations for their donations: the Army Group from Oakdale, RiverRats Motorcycle Club, the Cub Scouts, Central Valley Community Resources, and the many anonymous donors from our community,” added Barber-Martinez.