On Dec. 23, Christmas came early to the children living at Fairview Mobile Manor in Hollister. Santa Claus sat surrounded by wrapped presents as eager children lined up to greet him.
“I’m here to bring some extra joy this holiday to the young ones here in need,” said Santa. “They might not get something from their parents so I am here to help.”
As Santa handed out presents, volunteers with My Father’s House were distributing a special delivery of bags filled with food to grateful families. The event was organized by Pastor Linda Lampe, through Our Father’s House, part of her nonprofit organization, Hollister Community Outreach.
“I have been working with Linda for over a year and a half,” said Jessie Sanchez, manager of Fairview Mobile Manor. “She comes out here every week and it has been amazing what she has been able to give the people who live here. Today the kids are getting presents but the people are also getting good food, meat and other things they need, which saves them a lot of money. I have never met someone who worked so hard to help the less fortunate.”
The toy and food distribution at Fairview Mobile Manor is just one of the Christmas events Lampe planned over the holiday. A second Santa visit is scheduled for residents of Mission Oaks Mobile Home Park on Christmas Eve. On the same day there will be a food distribution at R. O. Hardin Elementary School.
“It has been controlled chaos,” said Lampe. “But it has also been wonderful. We panicked a little bit over the last few days because we did not have the 900 gifts we needed for all of the children, but things have been coming together for us right at the end. People as far away as Morgan Hill responded to our call for help and I think we are going to be able to reach our goal.”
A majority of those toys came from 14-year-old Joseph Morrison who raised the donations through his Instagram-based charity @GiveLikeJoseph.
“Through my account, I have been able to donate over 500 toys this year,” Morrison said. “I have been working with charities for several years now, starting with a turkey drive two years ago. For me, I just think it is the right thing to do.”
While the toy drive is a special event just for Christmas, Lampe and her Food Angels are out each day of the year bringing food to those who need it, including those who live in migrant and low-income housing as well as homeless camps.
“Hunger does not take a holiday,” Lampe said. “We want to make sure everyone is well-fed and feels loved. That’s what our whole goal is in what we do.”
While Lampe has hit her goals as far as food and presents this year, she has a wish list of things she hopes people will donate to her cause to help recently displaced homeless people.
“We could really use tents, sleeping bags and jackets,” Lampe said. “I know it was a good thing they cleaned up the river, but a lot of people lost where they were living and a lot of their possessions were thrown away or confiscated. We are grateful to the people who have donated so far and we hope in this season others can search their hearts and lend a hand to those who need it most.”
My Father’s House (Ph. 831 801-7775) is located at 910 Monterey St. 215-A in Hollister.
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