There was a definite spirit of giving feeling in the air this week for The Children's Fund of San Bernardino County.

Supporters of children in need spent hours fundraising in order to provide happy holidays to many individuals and families. And the spirit will continue into the new year.

Fundraising is an on-going and necessary element to the work done by this nonprofit but the organization received a lovely end-of-the-year financial gift from four separate agencies.

Contributions came from First 5, $50,000; Bonnes Meres of Redlands (one of two very active and dedicated auxiliaries of the Children's Fund),

$70,000; Sheriff's Academy Class of 187, $18,466; and the San Bernardino Department of Child Support Services, $5,761.

Together, the generous gestures added up to $144,227 that will be used to continue to help youngsters who have been neglected, abused or abandoned. And the San Bernardino County Fire Department Spark of Love program provided Children's Fund with more than 1,000 toys this season.

"Children's Fund has many programs to support the children all year long, not just during the holidays. Our Emergency Needs Program provides direct assistance to at-risk children, providing them with items such as food, clothing, beds, shelter and medical and dental care," said Karen Blanco, public relations and marketing manager for Children's Fund.

"We support special projects such as the Children's Fund Assessment Center, San Bernardino's one-stop center that is designed to reduce the trauma of child abuse victims.


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And there are many programs that we fund such as backpacks for the kids filled with school supplies, winter coat program for those in the high/low desert, hygiene kits and so many more. We support other agencies as well, funding them all for the same purpose, to help these children, to make an impact on their lives, giving them hope for brighter tomorrows."

The Children's Fund of San Bernardino County is a proud member of the San Bernardino county Children's Network. It was established in 1986 when a public/private partnership was formed between Inland Empire businesses, other nonprofits and individuals wanting to make the lives of some of the county's youngest residents better.

It also has helped with the coordination of services for those who so desperately need them.

The Children's Fund is available for daily referrals from case managers and social workers. It maintains a committed community outreach program involving fundraising/funding grant requests and hosts a holiday toy drive that last year alone provided gifts to 32,000 children. And the nonprofit provides endowment scholarships to local colleges and universities for deserving young people who want to pursue their educations.

Its ultimate goal, of course, is to prevent child abuse all together, but until that one day becomes a reality, Children's Fund has been there and will continue to be there helping at-risk children.

"We are working to make the public more aware of all that Children's Fund does during the year," Blanco said.

"Many people are aware of our Celebration of Giving Campaign were we give toys, gifts and games to the underprivileged, at-risk, abused children in San Bernardino County. In this resource-constrained environment, we have to work smarter with what we have. We believe that the energy and enthusiasm of our dynamic team is catching on and new partnerships are being formed. Between our staff, the Board of Directors, auxiliaries (in addition to Bonnes Meres there is the Claremont West End Auxiliary), Children's Network and other volunteers and supporter, Children's Fund is grateful for what we are accomplishing as we continue to form new partnerships and develop our message to the public."

Even though the Children's Fund is a strong network of caring and generous supporters, there is always room for more. Financial donations are critical but so are the gifts of time.

For more information about getting involved, call 909-379-0000.