With exams finally over, Menlo JCLers turned their attention to our annual Christmas party at the Redwood Family House. With the money we made from our last waffle sale and our daily popcorn sales, we were able to provide fresh-cut trees, stands, and ornaments for every family in the shelter. Thanks to our Facilities Department, the trees were delivered on December 16 and set up in each apartment as well as the office. At 5 pm that night, we loaded our cars with our ornament-making supplies, a box with 50 ornaments per tree, tablecloths, plates, cups, drinks and snacks, and converged at the shelter by 5:30 to set up for the 6:00 pm party.
The families started arriving just before 6 pm. We took pictures of the children and placed them in picture frames which the children and their parents made, swirled paint around the inside of clear ornaments, decorated other ornaments with glitter or paint or both, and made other tree decorations by stringing bells, beads, and wooden cutouts on yarn. Everyone participated. Husbands made ornaments for the wives, and wives for their husbands. Children made presents of ornaments for their parents and each other. Everyone seemed to have a great time getting creative for Christmas.
Thanks to a wonderful donation from Jannell Walker in Facilities, we also had armloads of stuffed animals from Build-a-Bear for all the children. The little ones loved them to snuggle with and the older kids kept them as stuffed animals for their rooms or as gifts for their best friends. They were the hit of the evening!
Then around 7:15 pm dinner from Buca di Beppo arrived. We had spaghetti with meat sauce, penne a la vodka, Caesar salad, and bread and butter. With the forty people in the room, there was not much left. The salad is always the first to go because those ingredients are expensive and therefor a luxury for the families.
After that there were cookies for dessert, provided by Carla ’17, and everyone turned to cleaning up. Menlo students, the parents from the shelter, and the older kids there all chipped in to make the room ready for the next day. Even that part was fun.
Many thanks to all the Menlo kids who hung around after their last exam to help: Cam ’20, Cameron ’17, Carla ’17, Ellie P. ’18, Ellie Y. ’17, Jasckson ’18, Katelyn ’18, Nalatie ’19, Naomi ’19, Rachel ’18, Sunia ’17, Tatum ’17, Will ’18. We made a difference.