December 25, 2012 > True Spirit of Christmas brightens a quiet street
True Spirit of Christmas brightens a quiet street
By Julie Gesin
It began 15 years ago, when Bill and Susan Scalice, along with a couple of neighbors, decorated their front yards for Christmas. Other residents joined in the fun. Families kept adding to the displays trying to outdo each other, and soon the whole block became a Christmas extravaganza.
The word of Christmas street spread, and the block became a sightseeing destination. Last year Bill had an idea of putting this attention to good use. He and his wife have been long time supporters of the Alameda County Community Food Bank. They informed the organization about the foot traffic and attention their street received during Christmas and asked the food bank to drop off a couple of collection barrels. With help of neighbors and passers by they collected 1200 dollars in cash and seven barrels of food. The Alameda County Community Food Bank was amazed at the success of the food drive.
This is the second year of the food drive. Every evening, Bill stands outside by the barrels, greeting visitors that pass by in cars and on foot. "I love being out here, hearing the kids scream with excitement, that's the fun part." He says, his eyes alive with wonder that he has never outgrown. "One lady brought three bags of food and said she used the food bank in the past and wanted give back." His audience is supportive. They take pictures, put the word out on Facebook and return with food or money. "All the people are amazing," Susan adds with sincerity. She mentions how their effort also helped the neighbors get to know each other. Everyone comes together to talk and work on the event.
Bill looks at the holiday regalia with kid like enthusiasm, but there's a serious side to him. "There are so many people in need it's a good idea to give back to the community. To be thankful for what we have. The food will be distributed after January 1. That's, when people's bills start coming in and they will need help the most, but by then people stop donating." He hopes that this year they will beat last year's record and will continually do so every year, until there is no longer a need.
So come and visit this festive block of Queen Anne Court, check out the enchanting display, bring your goodwill, and see how one small community found a way to combine fun, creativity and compassion to help those in need.