Each year, the holidays bring an opportunity to give back to the communities we call home.
This holiday season, FilmL.A. staffers teamed up with several local production companies and took part in a holiday toy and basic needs drive for residents of the Five Acres Orphanage and Foster Home in Altadena. Five Acres houses 80 children between the ages of 5 to 13 years of age, but the drive included 230 program residents ranging from newborns to young adults 18 years old.
Each participant from Five Acres created a small wish list of items they hoped to receive. Participants’ names, ages and gifts of choice were then shared with partner organizations; at FilmL.A. this information was written on ornaments and used to decorate an Angel Tree. FilmL.A. staffers then chose ornament tags from the Angel Tree, agreeing to purchase and donate item(s) to satisfy each wish. Many requests were for toys, books and games, but also necessary items like toothbrushes, underwear, socks and dishes.
All donations were picked up from FilmL.A. on December 13th, just in time for a gift wrapping party on December 14th & 15th. FilmL.A. employees friends and family attended as volunteers.
On Saturday, December 21st Five Acres hosted a snow day for the children. On Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, children from Five Acres went home with either a family member or a staff member of Five Acres to spend the holiday in the most normal setting possible.
Response by FilmL.A. staffers to the holiday drive was immediate, and the Angel Tree quickly emptied of ornaments. FilmL.A. staffer Adriana Ruacho donated gifts for two children, ages 11 and 15. “I felt in my heart that I needed to give to two kids instead of just one,” Ruacho said. Ruacho’s sentiments were shared by many in the office.
FilmL.A. staffer Philip Sokoloski used the holiday drive as a teaching moment. Sokoloski involved his two children in the selection and purchase of his donated items in an expanded tradition of family giving.
“In the lead-up to the holidays, this program spread cheer and goodwill throughout the whole office,” Sokoloski noted. “I’d like to congratulate the staff who helped organize this program and the good people at Five Acres who every day make a real difference in the lives of local children and families.”
Those who wish to learn more about Five Acres can do so on the organization’s web site.