West Sac Kids Give Back

Local children help homeless with creation of cheer packs

By Michele Townsend

Three years ago, a boy from West Sacramento told his mom that he wanted to do something for the homeless. It was the holiday season, and this very proud mom agreed with her son, and came up with an idea. After speaking with some other mothers, four moms got together and developed a way their kids could help.

Quirina Orozco, one of the founding mothers, explained it as, “We live in a time where it seems that the majority of what kids were being taught is how to get, get, get! If you’re good – you’ll get this… if you do extra chores – you’ll get that.”

This is not what these moms wanted their children to be learning… Especially during the holiday season! The mothers agreed that the idea of giving seemed was becoming a distant memory to some. They decided to combine their efforts, and created “Cheer Packs”.

The plan was for the kids to collect donations of necessity items, assemble them into individual packs, and donate them to local non profit organizations that help the West Sac residents in need. This would not only teach the kids how to give back to their community, but to teach others as well. The first year there was about 12 kids that collected items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, foot powder, sock, gloves, beanies, feminine products, baby wipes, and children’s books. The kids assembled 50 bags, or Cheer Packs.

The word got out, and by this time last year West Sac Kids Give Back program had grown to 150 kids. That group of children collected enough items to assemble 300 bags!! Understand that the adults are overseeing the process, but the kids are doing most of the work. However, all of those involved have helped make somebody’s day a little brighter! This year, the kids collected items for an entire month prior, and got 20 local businesses involved. The goal is the assembly of 900 Cheer Packs that will be donated, for distribution, to the following organization; Collings Teen Center, My Sister’s House and Yolo County Children’s Alliance.

On Sunday, December 17th a few of the kids and their parents, held this year’s final drop off day for the community. Several kids (and their parents) stood in front of Sail Inn Grotto & Bar, while a steady stream of cars, holding good Samaritans, dropped off items. Jeff Henry, a West Sac resident, former Chamber President, and Executive Vice President of Placer County Contractor’s Association & Building Exchange, arrived to drop off his donation of the 1,000 big ziplock baggies that the Cheer Packs will be assembled in. Also included in the long list of Good Samaratin’s was Mayor Cabaldon, and of course Orozco, who became involved with the program last year.

Quirina stated, “As a council member, mother, and member of this great West Sacramento community… I am greatly interested in promoting programs that serve children and provide them opportunities to grow.” But make no mistake, these kids understand that every single donation was as important as the last!

Kathy Senna, a West Sac resident, said as she was dumping a bag of items into the collection boxes, “I was watching Channel 31, getting ready to go to church, and I thought I gotta run and get some stuff for them before church!” As seen above, all ages were involved! Sydney Olsen, age 3, arrived with her daddy, Dan to drop off 2 bags of items. Sydney had a huge smile on her face as she loaded the items into the box that was bigger than she is! And in her very sweet little voice, she could tell you what she was there for, and why.

The assembly party, held on the 17th, will feature Santa, cookies, and a lot of fun! This program welcomes, and encourages, all West Sac children, classrooms, scout troops, etc. to get involved in the program! It is a lot of fun, a great life lesson on the importance of giving, as well as develop an appreciation on ways to give back to your community. I think that it is best summed up in the program’s motto… “Young hands leaving an imprint on their community!”

One Response to West Sac Kids Give Back

  1. cword says:

    This is so needed for our kids. I’m so glad we have Councilmember Orozco improving our community.

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