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Season of Hope: North County non-profit overcomes challenges of pandemic to deliver a happy holiday

15-year old helps CRC with Holiday Baskets
Posted at 3:23 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 18:44:18-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The Community Resource Center, a non-profit dedicated to helping families in need, was able to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver holiday happiness to North County families.

Every year, the CRC does their annual "Holiday Baskets" program, where families in need get a shopping spree-style day at the Del Mar Fairgrounds to get food, toys, clothing, and more for the holidays.

But in 2020, the pandemic made the annual shopping spree impossible because of state and county health guidelines.

So the CRC changed things up a bit, turning the event into a drive-thru.

Now, instead of walking through a shopping area and picking out items, families will drive through the fairgrounds and have things handed to them in their cars.

"We'll have a pre-made box of food for each family, we'll have pre-made boxes of blankets for each family, and a pre-made box with family gifts," says CRC CEO John Van Cleef. "So the ability to choose gifts has changed this year, but we'll be providing puzzles, board games, and other family-based gifts."

Because of the changes, the CRC could only assist 1,100 families, which is down from their usual 1,600.

It may have been even fewer if not for the help of a 15-year old girl.

"There's always a way that we can help each other out," says Lucie Babcock, who has been volunteering with the CRC since she was 9.

For the past five years, Lucie has held bake sales or lemonade stands to raise money for the CRC. She then uses the money to buy toys and gifts for the families.

Because of the Pandemic, she couldn't do her usual fundraising.

Instead, Lucie wrote letters to family and friends asking for donations. She raised $400.

"Even if it seems like maybe you don't have the connections to make a difference, there's always a way," she says.

Van Cleef says people like Lucie inspire him to keep helping others.

The Holiday Baskets event is Saturday, Dec. 4, but families must pre-register to participate.