Eldon Baber, Executive Director – The Raise Foundation
It is clearly the holiday season, I knew just by walking through the office. There were bags and bags of gifts for families and children stacked everywhere. Evidence of the caring, supportive volunteers and staff that are a part of The Raise Foundation – all trying to make the holidays a little brighter for a family or child in need. All in all, 88 children from 33 families are at the heart of this year’s Adopt-a-Family special holiday project. And all of them are families who have dedicated themselves to making the most of the services provided by Family Resource Centers (FRCs), our food distributions, and other services to ensure they are strengthening their families.
Our “Adopt-a-Family” project is only one of the many ways The Raise Foundation reaches out to the community to help families and children. During this past year our food distribution project has reached hundreds of families in the Costa Mesa area every month. Thanks to our new partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim, this year we have been able to open a second monthly food distribution site. The Manzanita Park site in Anaheim has been a remarkable opportunity for volunteers to help The Raise Foundation double its reach to families through this wonderful support. Now, twice each month we are able to provide families with thousands of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables – healthy food for their children that otherwise would go without.
Another remarkable success for The Raise Foundation this past year has been the expansion of our Ambassadors Program – a group of dedicated individuals volunteering to serve our community as ambassadors for the wellbeing of children. Just this month a retired police officer a child advocate, and two college seniors signed up to be Ambassadors. So far, the Raise Awareness Ambassadors have reached thousands of people across our County – educating them about keeping children safe and sharing the message of awareness and prevention.
As I look back on 2016, I know that these successes mean a great deal to the families we serve. Together, we have touched the lives of thousands of children and families in very practical ways but also sharing a message of caring and support.
It is exactly that message of caring and support that I know we will count on as we step into the New Year. 2017 will be a year with its own challenges and opportunities, but I am confident with the continued collaboration with other agencies and the help of volunteers, supporters, and staff that make up our Raise Foundation family, we will continue to make a big difference in the lives of children across our County.
On behalf of our Board of Directors and Staff – thank you for all you do and here’s wishing you a happy holiday season!