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VACAVILLE TEENS HOST EARLY CHRISTMAS FOR LOCAL LOW INCOME RESIDENTS

Christmas came to Alamo Garden Apartments as the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club teens descended on the complex Friday bearing cookies, music, gifts and a whole lot of cheer.
“This is exciting. This is great that they come out here and do this,” said Marsha Mauck, her three children in tow.
In its fourth year, the Christmas giveaway is part of the club teens’ community outreach arm and the brainchild of former member-turned employee Julian Howard, 19.
It’s a meaningful way to give back, he said, a small thing that has a huge impact.
As the club’s tent and tables went up, boxes and bins filled with wrapped gifts were distributed and heavily decorated sugar cookies passed around.
Christmas music piped through a portable speaker as throngs of excited children paraded anxiously, wiggling and giggling as their parents and grandparents looked on.
Flor Funes, 3, danced as she was handed her first present.
There were so many, donated by individuals and groups and businesses, that the youth received more than one.
Franci Watt, 17, toasty warm in her violet hoodie, cuddled her plush caramel and white pony.
“I like him,” she said, snacking on a snowy cookie dotted with green and white nonpareils. Though she had yet to find him a name, she promised “I’ll think of it.”
Sergio Maciel, a teen with the Boys & Girls Club, observed the joy from the sidelines.
“It warms my heart to see all these people, some in need maybe some not in need. They’re all happy and everyone’s all happy,” he said. ““You see, when you give, and you’re giving positivity, everyone just comes together and that’s how humanity’s supposed to work.
“This is all worth it,” he continued, reflecting on all the effort that went into putting the project together. “This is what we’re here for.”
The teens had worked tirelessly with club volunteer Susan Schwartz and a host of staff, including Victoria Felix and Derick Organo. They solicited gifts, wrapped them, packed them into a variety of club vehicles and a U-Haul and Friday, made everything happen.
Pat Saleem, for one, was more than thankful.
Known as Nonnie to loved ones, she was gathering presents for her grandchildren and celebrating her birthday at the same time.
She won a bicycle for one grandchild as a raffle prize and was gifted with one of a handful of food baskets, as well. It was filled with everything, including a turkey, for the family’s Christmas meal.
That’s when the tears began falling.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said, hugging everyone within reach. “You don’t know how much you’ve touched my heart,” she said. “This is the best Christmas. You don’t even know.”
By program’s end, hundreds of presents were given, at least eight bicycles gifted through the Kroc Center in Suisun City and Christmas joy spread far and wide.
Christmas came to Alamo Garden Apartments as the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club teens descended on the complex Friday bearing cookies, music, gifts and a whole lot of cheer.
“This is exciting. This is great that they come out here and do this,” said Marsha Mauck, her three children in tow.
In its fourth year, the Christmas giveaway is part of the club teens’ community outreach arm and the brainchild of former member-turned employee Julian Howard, 19.
It’s a meaningful way to give back, he said, a small thing that has a huge impact.
As the club’s tent and tables went up, boxes and bins filled with wrapped gifts were distributed and heavily decorated sugar cookies passed around.
Christmas music piped through a portable speaker as throngs of excited children paraded anxiously, wiggling and giggling as their parents and grandparents looked on.
Flor Funes, 3, danced as she was handed her first present.
There were so many, donated by individuals and groups and businesses, that the youth received more than one.
Franci Watt, 17, toasty warm in her violet hoodie, cuddled her plush caramel and white pony.
“I like him,” she said, snacking on a snowy cookie dotted with green and white nonpareils. Though she had yet to find him a name, she promised “I’ll think of it.”
Sergio Maciel, a teen with the Boys & Girls Club, observed the joy from the sidelines.
“It warms my heart to see all these people, some in need maybe some not in need. They’re all happy and everyone’s all happy,” he said. ““You see, when you give, and you’re giving positivity, everyone just comes together and that’s how humanity’s supposed to work.
“This is all worth it,” he continued, reflecting on all the effort that went into putting the project together. “This is what we’re here for.”
The teens had worked tirelessly with club volunteer Susan Schwartz and a host of staff, including Victoria Felix and Derick Organo. They solicited gifts, wrapped them, packed them into a variety of club vehicles and a U-Haul and Friday, made everything happen.
Pat Saleem, for one, was more than thankful.
Known as Nonnie to loved ones, she was gathering presents for her grandchildren and celebrating her birthday at the same time.
She won a bicycle for one grandchild as a raffle prize and was gifted with one of a handful of food baskets, as well. It was filled with everything, including a turkey, for the family’s Christmas meal.
That’s when the tears began falling.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said, hugging everyone within reach. “You don’t know how much you’ve touched my heart,” she said. “This is the best Christmas. You don’t even know.”
By program’s end, hundreds of presents were given, at least eight bicycles gifted through the Kroc Center in Suisun City and Christmas joy spread far and wide.
By Kimberly K. Fu, kfu@thereporter.com, @ReporterKimFu on Twitter