It started as a simple Advent Reach Out Project. Saint Joseph of Cupertino School (SJC) was looking for a recipient to spread some holiday cheer.
“We wanted something local… something in our backyard” said Religious Activities Coordinator, Veronica Hernandez. What they found was Kinship, Adoptive and Foster Parent Association (KAFPA), a non-profit organization that provides resources for foster and adoptive families in Santa Clara County.
Advent Reach Out donations were stocking stuffer gifts that would brighten a foster child’s day. Items requested included: coloring books, crayons, socks, puzzles, writing supplies, scarves, gloves, journals, socks, lotions, travel-size games, nail polish, even low denomination gift cards for Target or fast food. The result was astounding. Over 900 items were collected and $500 in gift cards were donated.
Denise Marchu, executive director at KAFPA, was so grateful of the impressive support. KAFPA normally receives corporate donations, and was impressed by the level of support by an elementary school. The number of donations indicated the students connected with helping children in need, motivating them to give more, so it made sense to select KAFPA for the Lenten Reach Out program. This time helping children in need meant donations of diapers, pillows, stuffed animals, teen clothes, socks, underwear, toiletries, and children’s books.
During the six weeks of Lent, there were weekly Monday mornings dedicated to prayer for foster children and discussions that when you reach out to others, you can give to those less fortunate. Students were encouraged to do extra chores, use money from their piggy banks, or convert their Lenten sacrifices (like skipping snack at recess) into donations. Once again the outpouring of support was amazing. The results were 13 pillows, 90 stuffed animals, 97 pairs of socks, 90 pairs of underwear, 102 toiletry items, 1,315 diapers, 83 clothing items, and 1,170 books. At the donation presentation, Marchu and Soquel Filice (KAFPA program director), were clearly touched by the volume of generosity for their organization.
For more information about KAFPA, go to KAFPA.org.