Join ‘Be the Match’ to Support Gary Gelfand in His Fight Against Leukemia

Stockton 209 Cares Throws Holiday Party for Struggling Families

STOCKTON -- Providing Christmas cheer for those who need it the most -- Sunday, families struggling with tragedies got a chance to get in the Christmas spirit.

For many Stockton families, 2017 has been a blur, but with each bounce, and a little help from Santa, Christmas cheer became clearer for kids like Amelia Rose and Sonja.

While the two know each other well

"We are like total best friends for life. Bffff for life. Yeah, bffff," said Amelia Rose and Sonja.

Many new friendships were made at Skyzone in Stockton on Sunday, as the group Stockton 209 Cares hosted their third annual Christmas party, meant to bring families joy after encountering struggles during the year. Trisha Payne and her family, who lost their home in the pallet fire in May, were one of the over 100 families who were adopted by the community

"It means everything to us. Even our Christmas tree, all our holiday decorations had burnt up, so we had this little tree, we have very little presents this year, and I’m like, you know, next year is going to be better. But then we found out we were adopted, and we were like 'is this real?' Like we were shocked, for sure," Payne said.

While the presents surely made the kids jump for joy, families were able to meet the families who adopted them and forge a holiday friendship.

"I think it’s wonderful. I think every little child should have the opportunity to enjoy Christmas, meet Santa and just have a great time," said Jennifer and Artie Jewell, who adopted a family.

"We love it. It means the world to us because for a few moments, they are able to forget the things they went through and bring joy and smiles into their life," said Laurel and Bruce Livingstone, who also adopted a family.

A joy Payne wasn’t sure would come around this year.

"It took my doubt away of that not being a possibility, to instantly relieve that worry that they weren’t going to have, because I’m really big for holidays. I like to do that normally and this year, that just wasn’t going to happen. So it was truly amazing to find out that I didn’t have to worry about it being different or notice anything different from normal, so it was amazing to find out," Payne said.