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Volunteers: A Story Behind Holiday Charities

Volunteers come together to help the Viola Blythe Community Service Center.

The continues to do the work in which the woman whom the organization is named after originally started. 

And last week, community members from all over the Bay Area came together at the Newark center to prepare food for families who have been impacted by the economy the most. 

The volunteers also spen thours individuall wrapping gifts for hundreds of children from low-income families for the center's that was held on Dec. 17 at .

“We would like to think that we bring a little bit of a cheer to the families by at least giving their children a gift,” said Debbie Caravalho, executive director of the Viola Blythe Center.

More than 200 volunteers turned up between Monday and Wednesday of last week and their hard work allowed them to finish their tasks an hour ahead of schedule.

Ashley Rogers of the Alameda County Fire Department Reserves was among the hundreds of volunteers. It was her first time with the Viola Blythe Center, but she is no rookie to volunteering.

Rogers said she often volunteers with the reserves and said it's all about giving back.

“It’s about doing for others, instead of doing for yourself nowadays, and that’s probably the biggest thing that a lot of people need to learn, especially the younger generation — [that] to help out other people makes a big difference,” Rogers said.  “It’s contagious and it’s a good thing for everyone to partake in.”

It wasn’t just adults who volunteered.  Numerous children hailing from St. Edwards Catholic School, local public schools, clubs and even from Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops lent a helping hand.  While some were there to fulfill community service hours, others came just to help.

Newark Junior High School eighth grader Maddy Englese was one of several youth who helped and said she first helped at the Viola Blythe Community Service Center with her Girl Scout troop two years ago. She now comes with a few of her friends just to help out.

“It makes me feel good because I know some of the kids don’t really get any other Christmas presents and I donate to Viola Blythe [Center] all the time so it’s nice. I like it,” Englese said.

For more information about the Viola Blythe Community Service Center or how you can volunteer, visit http://www.violablythe.org or call 510-794-3437.

Mona Taplin December 21, 2011 at 06:02 AM
Bless all those volunteers who give some of their time to reach out and help those in need. Without them there would be many hundreds of people living right here in Newark without food or warm clothing, as well as hundreds of children who would have no gifts under their trees Christmas morning.I wish we had some way of determining how many families are now forced to live in their cars, huddled together to keep warm on these cold nights.

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