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Formerly Homeless Families In Vista Receive Christmas Surprise

Volunteers decorating for the annual

Photo by Mike Damron

Above: Volunteers decorating for the annual "Breaking and Entering" event at the Solutions For Change campus in Vista on Dec. 1, 2020.

Listen to this story by Tania Thorne.

Volunteers had a big Christmas surprise Tuesday for formerly homeless families at the Solutions For Change campus in Vista.

The organization provides housing for these families, and every year it holds an annual “Breaking and Entering” event. It's a day when volunteers “break” into the housing units and fill them with personalized gifts, a decorated Christmas tree, notes of encouragement and groceries to stock their refrigerators.

Jessica Kidd and her children were among the 150 residents told to spend Tuesday away from the campus, not knowing that volunteers were transforming their homes into winter wonderlands. Kidd and her children had tears in their eyes upon seeing the tree and gifts.

“Today I feel like I’m worthy of something, I didn't know it was going to be something this special and dedicated," Kidd said. "It’s special.”

“This is the 12th year that Solutions For Change has been able to put this event on and I think we need it this year more than ever to bring joy through this whole season. It's been a rough year for a lot of people so it's truly a blessing,” said Shannon Anderson, a graduate of the program, is now an empowerment coach at Solutions For Change and a volunteer for the annual event.

“Our volunteers took a lot of effort in really making this happen and for our families that probably wouldn't even have a Christmas. For some of our families it really is like their first Christmas,” said Viva Mooney, the intake coordinator at Solutions For Change.

Photo by Mike Damron

Jessica Kidd and her daughter looking at their transformed unit at the Solutions for Change campus in Vista after the Breaking and Entering event on Dec. 1. 2020.

There has been an outpouring of donations, and there was even a waitlist for volunteers wanting to participate in this year's Breaking and Entering event, program leaders said.

Tania Azar, vice president for Solutions For Change, said the program is designed for families experiencing homelessness. It equips parents with new skills and resources to transform their lives.

“It is a 700-day program, they actually graduate, they may have up to $3000 in their savings account and they're all 100% reunited back with their families,” she said.

Solutions for Change currently serves 161 parents and 323 children.

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Photo of Tania Thorne

Tania Thorne
North County Reporter

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