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Op Ed: Year of giving and gratitude

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You don’t need to look far to experience the best of the community stepping up to help those in need right here in our area. For over thirty-five years now Valley Churches United has truly shared the incredible generosity, support and passion of the local community helping our own residents facing hard times. As the Executive Director of Valley Churches United, located in the heart of Ben Lomond, I get to witness the magic of gratitude each and every day. During the holidays, imagine how special those moments are for those who are able to give and also for those who are receiving help in their time of need.

Valley Churches United is a donor-supported volunteer-powered nonprofit organization, not a church, serving low-income households in San Lorenzo Valley, Scotts Valley and Bonny Doon. While we are primarily a year-round food pantry, we also have several other programs to help our clients in need. This holiday season is always the busiest time of the year for us, but also the most rewarding as the local community truly helps make our Valley Christmas Project come alive with their amazing support.

The holiday food drive is just wrapping up and we have been blessed with so much help from the local schools, post offices, grocery stores, youth groups, local businesses and other food barrel locations. This year our totals are lower than in than in past years by about twenty percent yet the food needed to help our pantry remain stocked keeps growing. We gave out over 2,200 food bags this fall along with fresh produce and food vouchers, so the financial support we receive from the community is extremely valuable to keep our pantry going strong.

Our Christmas stocking project provided presents from the community that over 300 children requested. Again, the magic and the gratitude was so abundant and the generosity of people taking the time to carefully select gifts is so appreciated. We could not accomplish this special Christmas experience for all these families without the compassion and generosity of everyone who steps up and helps support Valley Churches United. We receive no direct government funding, so it is the best of our community stepping up and donating that allows us to truly gift those in need right here locally.

I am so very grateful for each and every donation that helps us meets our mission to bridge the gap in times of crisis, promotes self-sufficiency, and provides hope. You can donate online at vcum.org, mail checks to PO Box 367, Ben Lomond, 95005 or donate over the phone at 831-336-8258. Please consider us with your end of year monetary donations. My deepest appreciation and gratitude to all this Christmas!

Lynn Robinson is the executive director of Valley Churches United.

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