News | Dec. 28, 2016

Wing donates to local homeless families

By Senior Airman Tara R. Abrahams 940th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Fifty-one homeless families from the Marysville Joint Unified School District were invited to Breakfast with Santa Dec. 20, 2016, at Cedar Lane Elementary School in Olivehurst, California.


The event provided hot breakfast, gifts, time with Santa Claus and was made possible with the help and donations from twelve businesses and organizations, including Beale Air Force Base.


“This event was a chance to provide a meal to homeless children and their families, and to give them gifts from Santa Claus they otherwise would not likely receive,” said Jim Bibbee, 940th Force Support Squadron Community Readiness Consultant.


After the 940th Air Refueling Wing’s holiday party, the wing donated hundreds of toys and food items to help those in need.


On school days, students in the MJUSD are provided two free meals per day. During the three-week holiday break, some students and families don’t know when or where their next meal will come from.


Amanda Book, MJUSD homeless advocate, said the goal of this event was to give these families a warm place to eat a free meal.


As each family entered, they were given hot breakfast. But the highlight of the event came shortly after.


“Ho, ho, ho,” Santa Claus said, as he walked through the door. “Merry Christmas.”


Bibbee was talking with a young boy when Santa Claus arrived. 


“He immediately had an ear-to-ear smile,” Bibbee said.


Smiles were seen across the room and a line formed to meet the man in red before he even sat down. Every infant, child and teenager had the opportunity to visit and get a present.


Children also wrote letters and thank you notes to Santa Claus, made crafts and picked out more toys from bins.


Families expressed their appreciation, saying “gracias,” and “thank you,” throughout the morning. Holiday spirit and warm feelings filled the room.

“Knowing that you’re helping people that truly need help made all the difference in the world,” Bibbee said.


As families left the event, they were given a pie and individualized gift bags. The bags were from organizations that ‘adopted’ them, filled with more food and items off the children’s wish lists.


Unfortunately, not all 51 families were able to make it to breakfast, but they still received their gifts, whether they were able to pick them up after the event or have them delivered by Book.


“We try to help as many families as possible,” Book said. “We appreciate all of the organizations and departments that helped out. We couldn’t have done it without them.”


In addition to those from Beale AFB, donations were provided by Yuba County Probation, Agents of Change, Warm-a-Sole, Remax Gold, So You Can, 20/30 Club, MHS Clubs, MJUSD employees and friends, Kiwanis, Linda Lion’s Club and Bishop’s Pies.