Christmas spirit alive, well in LA

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Organizations throughout the community help less fortunate

By Carol A. Clark

Holiday sentiment blossoms this time of year as service clubs, churches, schools, businesses and county and laboratory employees focus on families and individuals in need.
 Bake sales are numerous. Families are adopted. Fund drives are held. Food, clothing and toys are collected. These compassionate gestures brighten the season for both receivers and givers.
A small sampling of the enormous amount of holiday spirit exhibited by members of the Los Alamos community include “snow angels” identified by the Betty Ehart Senior Center and White Rock Senior Center who provide snow removal for seniors throughout the county.
Also, Los Alamos County employees get in the spirit in a big way.
“I love to help people and that’s why I do this every year,” said Shirley Huber, a member of the county’s Employee Fund Committee since 1996.
Huber works in the Information Technology Department. She explained that the committee combines county departments into seven districts. Two employees from each district are on the committee. Each year around Thanksgiving time, the committee is contacted by a local sorority and given the information on families in need.
The employees work over the next three weeks donating and collecting money, clothing and toys, and also provide the families with food gift cards for their Christmas dinners.
Employees in the Department of Public Utilities and the Los Alamos County Community Development Department join together each year to adopt a family. The employees contribute toys and clothing and provide the family with a gift certificate for food.
Lisa Romero works in the 311 Customer Care Center and coordinates the holiday drive for DPU and the CDD.
“This year, we adopted a family in which the grandparents are raising their grandchildren,” Romero said. “I think they are doing something very important and it’s very satisfying for us to be able to help them.”
Karen Kendall from DPU agreed saying, “For me, part of Christmas is that spirit of giving and that giving isn’t just friends and family – that giving should be broader and it brings a lot of joy and is very satisfying.
“My dad and step mom every year in lieu of giving gifts to their adult children donate to a charity, this year they are giving to a music school that a friend is creating in South Africa. Part of the magic of Christmas is bringing joy to children.”
Parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church participate in an “Angel Tree” project for which they donate gifts for distribution to the less fortunate.
Los Alamos National Laboratory lifts the spirits of many families this time of year through its Adopt-a-Family program.
 LANL employees donate clothes, shoes and toys along with food for holiday meals to needy families through the Community Programs Office.
Through its outreach ministry, Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church members adopt needy families, create Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for the elderly and disabled and provide monetary donations, food and household items to those in need.
The Alpha Zeta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi adopts families every year through the Los Alamos Public Schools system. Items for the families are dropped off at the Los Alamos Christian Church and assembled in time for Christmas.
Many other individuals and organizations in this community demonstrate their compassion for others not only during this season, but throughout the year.