From the Heart holds annual holiday dinner

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Volunteers tend the buffet line at the From the Heart Holiday Dinner at the Community Hall Saturday, Nov. 16. Diane Sieker photo

The Anza Community Hall hosted the annual From the Heart Holiday Dinner Saturday, Nov. 16. The fundraiser was attended by supporters and friends of the children’s charity organization.

Ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls and Tammy Marana’s homemade cranberry jam were followed by pumpkin or apple pie, complete with whipped cream topping. It was announced that second and third helpings were available.

Raffles were held, and the prizes ranged from gift certificates to metal sculptures and decorative items. The grand prize was a flat-screen TV.

Event organizer and promoter Christina James said she was thrilled with the community’s response.

“Thank all of you who supported, volunteered and donated to our Holiday Dinner,” she said. “We are so grateful. We had another very successful night because of you. So grateful to have such an amazingly generous community.”

Sponsors included Hair by Justin, Phil’s Barber Shop, Graffiti Coffee, Common Grounds, Ricardo Breceda, Lorraine’s Pet Supply and Maddie Price. Volunteers from Hamilton High School, Hamilton K-8 and Cottonwood School were on hand to serve, decorate, clean up and attend to the comfort of patrons.

The ministry raises funds to buy Christmas gifts, fill and give away backpacks to school children and assist those local children that may be disadvantaged, focusing on families and children in need in the mountain communities of Anza, Aguanga, Mountain Center and Idyllwild.

According to James, on the first From the Heart Christmas the group served 13 children.. The first back-to-school backpack giveaway helped six students with backpacks and school-related goodies.

Every year the event gets bigger, she said. Now the organization gives out about over 300 loaded backpacks, as well as a pair of new shoes, socks and a haircut. Over 400 children benefited from the Christmas toy giveaway last year.

Fundraising events are held throughout the year to help collect money to aid this worthy cause including rummage sales, luncheons, raffles and the annual From the Heart’s Holiday dinner.

To learn more about the From The Heart Christian Women’s Ministries, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/115200731856938/about or write to: From The Heart Christian Women’s Ministries, P.O. Box 391224, Anza, CA 92539.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.