South San Francisco, CA December 22, 2015 Submitted by Joe Fragola, Kaiser Permanente
In keeping with the holiday spirit this year, the physicians, staff and employees at Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco gathered for their annual holiday luncheon, but this year rather than give out small gifts among themselves, they chose to help the children victimized by the Valley Fire in Lake County this past year. The donation of $5,000 went to the Clear lake Youth Services Center (Valley Fire area) to help provide a holiday party for the families and children this past Sunday, December 20th.
“We are honored to be able to make the donation to Clear Lake Youth Services who provided shelter and food to so many victims during the Valley Fire,” said Helen Archer-Duste, COO and Chief Nursing Officer, Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco. “Their goal is aligned with ours, to help families affected by the Valley Fire have a better holiday this year and give them hope to look forward to a brighter future.
Close to 400 people were able to share the holiday spirit and participate together in arts and crafts, a festive meal and to everyone’s joy and surprise, a visit from Santa himself who provided each of the children with a gift. What made this event so special is that just a couple of months ago these families lost everything. Without the gift from the physicians, staff and employees at KP South San Francisco this event may not have been possible.
According to Joyce Overton, Executive Director of Clear Lake Youth and Senior Service Centers, many of these people were sheltered throughout the days during and after the fire and came together to become more of a family than just a community. “There are no words for the appreciation we have from your organization,” said Joyce Overton. “It truly brought tear to my eyes.”
“The physicians, staff, and employees wanted to make a difference this year, especially for children in need. They immediately thought of the children affected by the Valley Fire who won’t have homes to celebrate Christmas,” said Martha Gilmore, Medical Group Administrator, KP South San Francisco. “We are so proud of this decision and in our hearts celebrate with these families and children, wishing them a beautiful holiday.”