FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mary Agnes Erlandson
Inglewood, CA -- December 19, 2009
Hollywood Park will be the site for the St. Margaret’s Center 22nd Annual Winter Wonderland for over 450 pre-screened families living at or below the poverty level. On Saturday, December 19th, with weeks of preparation, 300 volunteers will provide a day of Christmas activities for families in need. The day-long event which runs from 9:00am-6:00pm is unlike other events in that it reaches out to the entire family.
St. Margaret’s Center seeks to spread Christmas joy by directly involving parents in the gift giving process. Upon entering, children are whisked away by friendly elf-like volunteers to enjoy games, prizes, arts & crafts, refreshments, live entertainment, and meet with Santa himself. Meanwhile, parents will be guided through gift rooms by their personal shopper and allowed to choose gifts for each child. Volunteers will then wrap the gifts before parents are reunited with their children. “The beauty of this program is that parents choose the gifts for their child. They become the givers,” said Mary Agnes Erlandson, St. Margaret’s Center Director.
Families who utilize the services provided by St. Margaret’s Center go through a qualifying process that guarantees the gifts will go to the neediest families in the community. “The process itself is encouraging to all of the sponsors and makes it the ideal program for us to participate in,” says Norm Cravens, Hollywood Park Community Relations Director, “Ms. Erlandson has succeeded in making this an event that accomplishes what the holiday spirit is truly about.” After outgrowing former locations, Hollywood Park Racetrack opened its doors to this event in 2002 and continues to be one of the program’s biggest supporters.
Other community agencies including the Centinela Freeman Medical Staff, The Today Show, Doorking, Inc., Hollywood Park Casino and the Inglewood Police Department have also discovered this worthwhile program and generously lend their support. With a magnificent sleigh provided by the officers of the Inglewood Police Department, Santa Claus and his police escorts will be on hand to kick off the event at 9:00 am.
St. Margaret’s Center, a program of Catholic Charities since 1987, provides relief, dignity and support to low-income persons in crisis and assists individuals through case management and skills development to become more self-sufficient and achieve greater economic security.