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Volunteers at area church send food, gifts to needy families

By Rachel McGrath , Ventura County Star

1760 days ago   Article ID# 781880
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Catholic Charities

VENTURA , CALIFORNIA (Ventura County Star) - Hundreds of families in Ventura County will have a merrier Christmas thanks to the efforts of parishioners at a Westlake Village church.

For the 21st year in a row, members of St. Jude’s Catholic Church have participated in Adopt-A-Family, a program to help the needy started by Jackie and John Treuting.

From collecting gifts for 75 families in 1990, the program has grown over the years, and this year, hundreds of boxes of gifts, toys and food will be delivered to 663 low-income families across the county.

Donations come from members of St. Jude’s congregation, local schools and businesses.

“It’s about recognizing that a lot of people at various times need a helping hand. They may have lost their job or they may have had a medical illness,” said John Treuting. “You just need to get outside yourself and help somebody, and we just help facilitate that.”

On Saturday, volunteers helped receive donated items in the church’s parking lot at 32032 W. Lindero Canyon Road, south of Highway 101. They boxed the items, labeled them and put them on trucks for delivery to local social service organizations that had identified those most in need of help during the holidays.

“My role is making sure that the boxes grouped together stay together and get to the right location,” said Eric Terndrup as he ticked box numbers off a log sheet as teens from the church loaded them into a truck.

“There’s a lot of needy families and this is one way of giving back,” he said.

The names of needy families were submitted by the offices of Catholic Charities in Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Ventura and Oxnard. Donations also go to help the poor in downtown Los Angeles through St. Malachy Church and are also be distributed through the Westminster Free Clinic, which serves the uninsured in eastern Ventura County.

As well as gifts and nonperishable food items for families, the Adopt-a-Family program this year is providing 28 packages for babies and moms living in shelters; 65 baskets for seniors; 455 duffel bags filled with items for homeless men; and 26 backpacks filled with warm clothing for homeless teens, organizers said.

Jackie Treuting said the donors get a basic description of the families they adopt, including first names, genders, clothing sizes, ages and any gift requests.

Paul Brennan of Westlake Village dropped off toys, clothes and food for the family his family had adopted.

“We do it so we can teach our kids that other kids aren’t as fortunate as they are,” he said.

“We’re blessed and we like to give back to those that aren’t as fortunate,” said Jerry Groel as she delivered her boxes of gifts and food to the volunteers.

Madeleine Giberson spent her morning helping those who donated items fill out cards to go with their gifts.

“I enjoy it more than giving my own grandkids presents,” she said. “All the kids I know, including my grandkids, have too much stuff and you know, these kids are really going to enjoy what they get and the families are really going to enjoy being able to provide their own food at Christmas and have their own celebration. It’s just more fun than buying for my own family.”

Copyright 2015 Ventura County Star   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1760 days ago   Article ID# 781880

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