On a crisp December morning – holiday magic was afoot. Children the night before pretending to sleep, too excited about what the day held in store. Despite the cancelation of activities while at school and then having the school day at home, the children still had the excitement of Christmas to look forward to!
The excitement wasn’t just for the children. Families who had been out of work, struggling to make ends meet, were similarly looking forward to the event. Being used to cutting back, and unsure of what to do for the upcoming holiday season, they could now rest easy knowing that their children could still have a great Christmas and a great Christmas dinner.
With Christmas music softly playing, families arrived at the Santo Nino Catholic Community for The Valley Guardians Christmas Initiative. With the help of volunteers and Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Valley Guardians helped deliver over 750 gifts to children.
“It was a really amazing experience, and great to see everyone come together for a great cause. Thanks go to the Board members, volunteers, and donors for their tremendous effort and organization.” said Loren Howard, President of The Valley Guardians.
The Valley Guardians is proud to work with the Santo Nino Mission which offers outreach programs in one of the poorest communities in Phoenix. With our Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Initiatives, we can provide presents, food, and financial assistance to the least fortunate. This helps children in the poorest families have great holidays, and provide a sense of stability and hope.
Santo Nino Mission
The Santo Nino Catholic community is a church community in one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the Valley. Many of the families they serve are living in extreme poverty or homeless. Santo Nino is constantly giving to their community through food drives, hot meals, and other charitable works that help inspire their community and give a sense of hope.
“Generosity has made me who I am today. I have been so blessed by the charity of other people and am blessed to be called to those in similar situations as I can truly understand their struggles.” Said Fr. Romeo. “We are continuously blessed by donations and volunteers who are called to give back to the poor and those in need.”
Fr. Romeo is no stranger to the struggles of poverty. Born the ninth child of twelve in the Philippines, he experienced the hardship of childhood poverty first hand as he worked to help provide for his family. With the help of a working program, he was able to pursue an education to help his family and found his calling to the Priesthood.
Helping Those In Need In The Valley
Knowing how these families and children are affected by circumstances, The Valley Guardians offer year-round support to the Santo Nino mission to help give children a better life. We do these through our Holiday and Back to School initiatives.
These Initiatives have provided
- Over 9000 Pounds of Food
- Delivered Over 500 Food Baskets
- Over 700 Easter Baskets to Families Impacted By COVID-19
- More Than 700 Christmas Presents for Children
- Back to School supplies for children in need
Children from low-income families experience high dropout rates from school and continue the cycle of poverty. For these children, stability and routine can seem like far-fetched daydreams. The Valley Guardians Initiatives provide for children’s basic needs and give them the chance to enjoy their childhood and avoid the stress of poverty.
“The Valley Guardians are a blessing to our community. We really don’t have resources, even an extra $300 dollars make a real difference. It is a real miracle to be able to help these families, which we could not do without The Valley Guardians.” added Fr. Romeo of the Santo Nino Parish.
A Community Of Hope
“The Valley Guardians have created a huge miracle for us to make a real difference.” Fr. Romeo added the importance of their mission, “The real gift for these families, is they can see that people truly care for these kids, and gives them a source of hope for the future.”
Children in low-income families miss milestones and regular childhood moments that poverty can steal from them. With our Initiatives, such as our Christmas Initiative, they get the chance to live out the magic of the holidays and even meet Santa.
“It’s all about hope. Once someone sees they can make a difference in their own life and is given that nudge of encouragement they can see they have a fighting chance. Whether it’s a hot meal, a job, or a Christmas gift, it is that twinkle in their eye to keep fighting and it inspires me to keep changing lives.” said Naidu Vos, the Event Director of The Valley Guardians.
“I think of it as a miracle when Naidu Vos contacted me on a Wednesday morning. It was one of the biggest blessings I have ever received.” Fr. Romeo shared his first contact with The Valley Guardians. “I got a call out of nowhere and it is truly amazing how God has provided us so many things. That one phone call has led to us being able to have such a life-changing impact in our community. Everyone on The Valley Guardians is so generous and is always multiplying the efforts, and paying it forward.”
The Santo Nino community is constantly in need of volunteers and donations, especially to their food pantries. You can learn more about Santo Nino Volunteering opportunities or donations here.
“The Valley Guardians constantly goes above and beyond to find ways to help provide and give back to our community. I am forever grateful for all Naidu Vos and The Valley Guardians have done to help our community”, said Fr. Romeo.