HANFORD — At Hannah’s House and the Frasieur Home, Christmas doesn’t usually consist of presents. But thanks to the Christmas Break Baseball and Softball camps organized by Dalton Silva, there were plenty to go around on Wednesday.
Silva, a longtime resident of Hanford and 2010 graduate of Hanford High School, hosted the two camps Dec. 15-16 with the goal of giving back. The community came through and more than 130 toys were gathered between the two camps.
On Wednesday afternoon, moms and children were brought into a room at Hannah’s House with a Christmas tree and those presents waiting underneath. As they were handed out and unwrapped, delight and joy came across everyone’s face, especially the children.
Kari Snow, a mom at Hannah’s House, opened presents with her daughter, Chelle, and called the moment special.
“It is great to see people from the community coming and offering us the support,” Snow said. “I personally have gotten used to being looked down on … so to have the community come out and support us in a time that we really need the help is awesome.”
Knowing the presents came from the community meant a lot for Shania Garvin, who was with her daughter on Christmas for the first time.
“I really didn’t think that people paid attention to us or would care as much as they do,” Garvin said. “I’m really grateful for the kids who had to sacrifice some of the things that they had. It’s just a wonderful feeling. I never had that kind of support from anybody, let alone being here and having the support, it feels good.”
Among the gifts were Star Wars lightsabers, a skateboard, stuffed animals and more. Salvador Salazar, owner of Mercado Del Valle, donated two large gifts in a new volleyball and soccer set.
The old volleyball net, consisting of wood, PVC pipe and an old net, was replaced shortly after the new one was opened and residents were playing with it soon after. The two soccer nets were also assembled and will serve as another activity for the residents.
Marisa Nardiello, the program Manager for Hannah’s House and the Frasieur Home, which provides substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, parenting and family groups and more, called the moment of seeing the children open presents “unforgettable and breathtaking.”
“We do have people who donate, but not the mass amounts that Dalton was able to donate and the people from the baseball camps were able to contribute to the kids,” Nardiello said. “We had so many gifts that were donated we also were able to put new toys in our child-care room, so that when the kids are here full-time, not just the kids that are here today, they’re able to play with these gifts today, next week, next year.”
Silva, who was present on Wednesday, said the whole whirlwind experience was an amazing one. He plans on doing another camp next year with more donations in mind.
“At first it was stressful getting the camp going, finding the people to help, volunteers, donations,” Silva said. “But then as it went on it was overwhelming when everything started coming and seeing all the gifts all the kids brought to today to when they got to open the gifts. It was emotional.”