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Acts of kindness, all year long

Grassroots Tehachapi


Julianna Crisalli

Andrea Del Grosso and Erik Del Grosso, 2, meet Santa during the Sharing and Caring Christmas giveaway event on Dec. 21.

Simple acts of kindness can be incredibly powerful and during the holidays, they have the power to change tears of worry to tears of gratefulness and joy.

This Christmas, volunteers with Sharing and Caring will bring lots of smiles to families in need.

The nonprofit, which was started by Joan Siglin in 1998, provided supplies for a full day of Christmas meals, toys, wrapping paper, toiletries, blankets, etc. to 27 families and 52 children in Tehachapi.

"The (Christmas giveaway) is mayhem, but it's the most beautiful thing," said volunteer Dee Swenson. "When you see people walk away crying because they have toys for their children and clothes for their children, it makes it all worthwhile."

These acts of kindness, which volunteer Ada Snapp refers to as "hand-ups," not handouts, don't just arrive with the holidays. The dedicated volunteers work all year to give necessary supplies to people in need. Swenson, who has volunteered at Sharing and Caring for six years, said they supply clothing, toiletries, and even help with utilities and rent payments.

"You just can't know what people are feeling or needing. These people come in and it feels like they could be my own daughter, my own son. Sometimes we all need a little extra kindness," Snapp said.

Perhaps the most important service Sharing and Caring provides is its food pantry. Every week they supply meat, bread, vegetables, eggs, milk, cereal, etc. to people in the community.

Many of the free services require individuals to sign up first. This both allows the volunteers enough time to gather necessary resources for the recent holiday giveaway and gives parents the opportunity to request special gifts from their children's letters to Santa.

This year, for instance, two little girls who asked Santa for bikes will find them under their tree on Christmas morning.

"The beautiful people behind the scenes of Sharing and Caring, not just one person here, but all of them ... make beautiful things happen for the community," Snapp said.

Julianna Crisalli

Sharing and Caring volunteers join hands in prayer before giving meal ingredients to 27 families and toys to 52 children on Dec. 21.

Sharing and Caring is always looking for more donations, from clothes and household items to food and toiletries. St. Vincent de Paul Society, the thrift shop on Green Street in downtown Tehachapi, will be closing their doors on Dec. 30. Snapp said this could mean more donations for their store. Since every dime they make selling the donated goods goes back into the food pantry and holiday gift baskets, Sharing and Caring is happy to accept any donations the community can provide.

The true heart of Sharing and Caring is its volunteers. Some are there several days a week, while others can only offer a few hours. But each is vital to the mission of the nonprofit -- spreading kindness and offering a helping hand when people need it the most.

"You just don't know where someone is in their life, what troubles they may be having. But random acts of kindness can go so far," Snapp said.

Do you know an inspirational group, individual or program that should be featured in an upcoming Grassroots Tehachapi? Email me at [email protected]

See you next time and Happy Holidays!


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