‘Hands’ misses goal; still helps 400-plus families

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Gardena’s annual Helping Hands holiday drive missed its goal of $22,500 in charitable donations, but the holiday fundraiser still helped more than 450 families this holiday season. The season-ending total for 2015 was $20,873, according to Hands coordinator, Evette Wedlow-Benjamin.

Benjamin said she was still pleased with the results.

Gardena’s annual Helping Hands holiday drive missed its goal of $22,500 in charitable donations, but the holiday fundraiser still helped more than 450 families this holiday season. The season-ending total for 2015 was $20,873, according to Hands coordinator, Evette Wedlow-Benjamin.

Benjamin said she was still pleased with the results.

“Even though we did not reach our goal of $22,500, we were able to assist 2,394 people from 467 families,” Benjamin said. “As a part of the program, those families received grocery certificates and toys because of the contributions made by our supporters.

“Again, on behalf of the recipients of the Helping Hands Program, I would like to say ‘Thank You’ for continuing to make the holidays brighter for the many less fortunate residents of Gardena. We could not have done it without you,” she said.

“A special ‘thank you’ to the Gardena Municipal Bus Lines employees, Honda employees, Northrup Grumman Athleteic Club members, and the Kiwanis Club of Gardena Valley members, for taking the extra step and adopting families for the holidays. Your generosity was amazing and the appreciation of your thoughtfulness showed on the families’ faces when receiving their gifts.”

Week 6-7 donations  — $2,130 for Dec. 28 – Jan. 7

$500 from North Torrance Lions Club

$400 from Loyce Holt

$230 from Gardena Emblem Club

$200: Ronald Panter, Gardena Valley Lions Club, and anonymous.

$100: Christopher and Charlotte Lynch, and The Second Time Around Club. Also Eric Kirks, 100 (Jan. 7).

$50: Frank and Lidia Onderka, and the St. Anthony Seniors.

Toys gathered for the final weeks:

Lucky Duck, 18; U.S. Bank (Pacific Square branch), 11; Chase Bank (Artesia and Normandie branch), 11; North Torrance Girls Softball, 100; Gardena Buddhist Church, 293; Gardena Police Department, 87; Daysprings Christian Church, 43; Dolores Gollner and family, 18; Harbor Distributing, 113 Toys; Spark of Love, 300 toys.

Week 5 donations — $5,965 for Dec. 21

$1,800 from the Gardena F.O.R. Jr. Sports Association

$1,000 from the GMEA

$800 from the Gardena Recreation & Youth Sports Advisory Board

$600 from the Gardena Emblem Club No. 257

$500 from Mayor Pro Tem Terrence Terauchi

$200 from the Lutheran Oriental Church Inc.

$100 from Donald Dear; Alton & LaVerne Knight; Efren and Dolores Sales; Mas Fujita; Anonymous; Gardena Valley Affiliated Commission; Gardena Evening Optimist; Joe and Jessica Randle; Glenn T. Shono; and Tom H. Parks.

$30 from Joseph & Sachi Watari; and Yaeko Haruma.

$5 from Anonymous.

TOYS — $1,200 value by the Gardena Recreation and Youth Sports Advisory Board. The Hustler Casino gave 84 toys. Also from Alyona Kononova, MIS director at the Hustler Casino.

Week 4 donations — $2,725 for Dec. 14

$500 each: G. Garnica Trucking; 2) GMEO; and 3) Jim and Linda Hone.

$400 from T&B Kennedy

$200 from Evelyn B. Nall

$100 each: Richard and Virginia Castillo; 2) City attorney Peter Wallin and Mrs. Carol Wallin; 3) Henry H. Shimabuku; 4) In memory of Aunt Kimi, Yaeko, and Seiichi; 5) D. Watanabe; 6) D. Wataname

$25 from Hisashi Nakada

Toy donations this week were 65 by Nader’s LA Popular Furniture, and 29 by the El Camino Lions.

Week 3 donations — $3,980 for Dec. 7

$2,790 — F.O.R. – Youth Division

$440 — F.O.R. – Adult Division

$300 — Nader’s LA Popular

$200 — Mr. and Mrs. Denny Ward

$100 — Gary and Flo Motoyama $100

$100 — Gardena Valley Friends of the Library

$50 — Allen and Patricia Lange

Other donations: Mr. and Mrs. Denny Ward donated 44 toys; Nader’s LA Popular donated 53 toys; Boy Scout Troop 203 donated canned food; and First Born of Jesus Christ donated 23 toys.

Week 2 donations —  $1,497 for Nov. 30

(1) F.O.R., $905; (2) Troop 683, $492; and (3) John and Elaine Nichelson, $100.

The following groups made food donations:  Troop 683; South Bay FOR; Harbor Distributing Company; Courtney’s School of Dance; and Impresa Aero Space.

Toy Donations: Nader’s Furniture and NGRC Softball.

Week 1 donations — $3,100 for Nov. 23

$2,000 — Elks Lodge No. 1919

$400 — Loyce Holt

$250 — Loyce Holt

$250 — El Camino Lions

$200 — In Memory of Tom and Jan Gohata

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