December 5, 2006 > LOV-Committed to community
LOV-Committed to community
by Pushpa Warrier
"The community opened up their hearts and made it happen," said Shirley Sisk, executive director, League of Volunteers (LOV), of their wonderful Thanksgiving. "We are truly blessed to live in a community that can pull together and give of themselves for those less fortunate." At the end of the day, 4,182 meals were served.
A multi-service nonprofit agency founded in 1979 to fill a gap left by cutbacks in school funding, currently LOV operates approximately 40 community service programs throughout the Tri-City area. Its mission is to promote volunteerism, enhance the quality of life by offering programs for youth, seniors and those in need.
For Christmas LOV is joining forces with the U.S. Marine Corps to bring holiday cheer to Tri-City children for the 13th year. During the second week of November, LOV places toy barrels and U.S. Marine posters at various collection sites within Fremont, Newark and Union City. LOV is responsible for the collection and distribution of the toys received from the Toys for Tots program. All toys are given to agencies specific to these three cities.
"Thirteen years ago, we were unable to work out an agreement allowing us to keep toys in the Tri-City area," said Harold Colon, assistant executive director of LOV. "Agencies just came by and requested a specific number of toys from us and we tried our best to fill the request of their clients." Last year, 7,000 toys were distributed. This year, so far, LOV has received 10,000 requests. Call (510) 793-5683 to find out where you can donate toys or drop them off at LOV's community service center located at 36120 Ruschin Dr., Newark. All toys must be new and unwrapped.
Volunteers are still needed to pick up toys, sort, count and gift-wrap for LOV's annual children's party "Gifts for the Children."
Over the years, LOV came to understand that there are some special families that really need help who seem to fall through the cracks. People can call LOV to "Adopt a Family" for the holidays. Disadvantaged families make wish lists and benefactors buy things on the list and deliver them to LOV for distribution that begins on December 18.
Families who would like to be adopted must meet low-income federal requirements or be referred by a caseworker. Police departments and other agencies also refer families to this program. Proof of residency and income is required. Last year, around 150 families benefited by the Adopt a Family program.
"We make sure that families from different backgrounds and situations are selected and include single-parent with one child to two parents with six children," said Joanne Paletta, program director of LOV. We make sure that our resources are utilized to fulfill the needs of the families adopted through our program by local businesses, clubs, schools or individual families. We provide a food basket so everyone can have a wonderful Christmas and extra food that can sustain them at the beginning of the year. Monetary donations are also used to support a child if the family has not yet been adopted." If you would like to adopt a family, call Joanne at (510) 793-5683 or email her at Joanne@lov.org. You can also visit LOV on the web at www.lov.org.