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CSF organizes gift-giving for abandoned kids

At the Craycroft Youth Center, the advent of Christmas fills youthful children with anticipation. Christmas lists, shopping and visions of ripping open presents dance in the minds of youngsters. However, material gifts aside, the true desire most youths at the shelter have is to be loved, and to possess a sense of security in their lives once again.

Craycroft, located on Golden St. Boulevard in Downtown Fresno, provides a safe place for abused and abandoned kids who range in age from newborn until adults.

“The main reason we started this place was because these kids were sleeping on the floor, and that was not right,” Vanessa Rodarte, activities director for Craycroft, said. “They were removed from there homes because of abuse, abandonment or sexual abuse.”

Before Craycroft was started, the children of the shelter were sleeping on the floor of Juvenile Hall, even though they were not criminals. So, the county opened up a facility in November 1994 to house them. They remain at the shelter until other arrangements can be made for their care.

This year, the campus California Scholastic Federation [CSF] is contributing gifts and comfort to the kids at the youth center.

“As Christians in a Christian school we can become isolated from people who are less fortunate,” Ellen King, CSF adviser, said. “Assisting the kids at Craycroft gives us an opportunity to put the love of Christ into action.”

The Craycroft ministry appealed to CSF students because of the personal touch of giving the gifts to the child.

“To be able to see the smiling faces of the little kids makes me feel like I am actually making a difference,” Jennifer Schmidt, ’06, said. “I can’t wait to bring the kids some gifts because it will be really exciting to see the joy in their eyes while they open the presents up.”

CSF participants will travel to the youth center after school on Dec. 9, where they will hand out gifts and fellowship with the kids.

For those who did not participate in the CSF activity, a few students donated new unwrapped toys to the Toys for Tots program sponsored by the Marine Corps.

“”Not many toys were donated to the Toys for Tots box; the kids really deserved more,”” Jesse Madsen, ’05, said. “”It’s not hard to spend fifteen bucks to buy a a couple presents and make it special Christmas for some kids.””

Yet, by the time the Toys for Tots box was picked up on Dec. 11, over 25 toys had been given.

Some students are not just giving for the sake of the child.

“I am very excited to have to opportunity to help these children out,” Tim Westra, ’05, said. ” When you get an opportunity to help someone out you should help out because you are doing it for the Lord.”

Craycroft accepts toys, clothes, gift certificates, blankets and toilet articles from those in the community who want to help.

For more information to help out Craycoft, contact King or call the center at (559) 268-1123. If students are unable to help out at Craycoft, they can donate to the Marine Corp. sponsored Toys for Tots program. A collection box is located in front of the high school office.

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    Phil UnruhAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Love it, Stobbe. You are the man!