For the 7th year, EngAGE and the Road Theatre company made Christmas happen for the children at Vermont Family Apartments in Los Angeles. The families who live there are grandparents and their grandchildren. The median income for these families is very low, with grandparents sometimes raising as many as five children in the household. It’s a tradition each year for the Road Theatre’s “Vermont Toy Drive” to raise money to purchase gifts for the children, then hold a wrapping event prior to Santa personally delivering the gifts. NoHo SAC volunteers help out, too.
Take a look at these great photos and learn more about this annual event:
EngAGE Founder and Executive Director Tim Carpenter’s response to the photo above:
This is a beautiful thing, gifts to people who so need them, from our friends at the Road Theatre, Elizabeth Sampson, Taylor Gilbert, Sam Anderson, Scott Alan Smith, Darryl Johnson, and all the beautiful Roadies! Many thanks to you all for making the season brighter for Vermont Family Apartments! And thanks to NoHo SAC volunteer Carol, Program Director Sara Debevec and C.A.O. Nancy Goodhart of EngAGE!
Elizabeth Sampson, Road Theatre actor and EngAGE Regional Programs Director, has been the driving force behind this event since its inception:
In November, I start asking for donations for the Vermont kids that the Road has ‘adopted.’ I raise money over the course of the next two monthly company meetings at the Road with roughly 50 company members donating anywhere from $800 to $1300. I get a list of the kids (ages and gender — we started out with 40 kids, there are now over 70), and then go to the nicest Marshall’s in Burbank, as well as Michael’s (for art supplies), and buy toys for every child. We give Target Gift Cards to the 13 to 16 year olds. In addition, I give the Regional Programs Director $300 to buy dinner. In 2014, I bought them a Christmas tree and a really nice Santa Suit.
EngAGE C.A.O. Nancy Goodhart would like to thank the Road Theatre for their generosity in bringing the holiday spirit to the Vermont Family Apartments:
The evening at Vermont Family Apartments was wonderful! We wish you all could have been there to share the feelings of excitement and gratitude.
The empty red chair that awaited Santa’s arrival was such a nice set up, and the loads of your wonderfully wrapped gifts looked so festive around the tree. The kids that were not allowed to open until Christmas, hugged their gifts. Truly a very sweet night. The older kids had no reservations about being there, going to Santa, and were genuinely pleased with their gift card — borderline overwhelmed with the possibilities of $15.00 !
Thank you to Blair and Megan for assisting with the wrapping, and to Mrs. Claus herself, Elizabeth. You rock again.
On behalf of the folks at Vermont Family Apartments, and EngAGE, a huge heartfelt Thank You for your Gifts of Giving, without which this event would not happen.
~ Nancy Goodhart, EngAGE C.A.O.