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North County Families In Need To Receive Holiday ‘Baskets’

Volunteers putting together holiday

Photo by Guillermo Sevilla

Above: Volunteers putting together holiday "baskets" at the Community Resource Center in Encinitas on Nov. 30, 2020.

A North County resource center is hoping to make the holidays a little more special for more than 1,100 families who've faced a difficult year, by distributing holiday "baskets" filled with food, necessities and games.

The Community Resource Center in Encinitas has been serving North County families with assistance since 1979. The center serves the North County coastal communities of Del Mar through Oceanside, and inland into San Marcos.

Listen to this story by Tania Thorne.

Case managers assist families with wrap-around services including rental and utility assistance, a food pantry, and domestic violence prevention and intervention support.

Video by Guillermo Sevilla

Community Resource Center CEO John Vancleef said the pandemic made this year a busy one for the Community Resource Center.

“We’ve seen significant increases, 43% in people seeking food assistance, 53% increase in people calling our domestic violence hotline for help,” he said, “so those increases have really been exposed and exacerbated by COVID.”

The center plans a one-day drive-thru event Saturday, to distribute its holiday baskets to 1,100 pre-registered families. The "baskets" are actually gift boxes filled by volunteers with food, blankets, household items and games for families, seniors and newborn babies.

This year’s gift boxes have been specifically designed with puzzles and games for the families to spend more time at home.

All the items for the holiday baskets event were donated by the community and local businesses.

"I think people are just loving this community and loving this Community Resource Center," said Marilyn Lawhead, who donated to the event. "It's just a beacon of light for some families.”

This story was produced with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

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Photo of Tania Thorne

Tania Thorne
North County Reporter

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