Four years ago, our MIIS community started participating in a “Gift of Giving” Event which benefits the Monterey County Migrant Farm Workers. The Non-Profit organization that runs this generous project is called “The Christmas Project” which was established in 1978 by a woman named Gladys Anderson located in Watsonville. The Christmas Project began in 1978 in response to the needs of many children in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, including children served by Child Protective Services. The story goes that Gladys Anderson met Maria, a twelve-year-old girl who wanted a doll for Christmas. She had never had a doll and her mother could not afford to buy one. After telling her office about Maria, a colleague brought a doll to work. Gladys’ children gathered toys to share, and The Christmas Project was born. Since that time, people from the community have volunteered countless hours to help with the Christmas Project. Their word-of-mouth efforts have brought Christmas joy to so many!!
Gladys has since moved to Las Vegas, but has a commitment to keep up this tradition and thus comes down every year in December to coordinate this wonderful community effort. This project has fulfilled thousands upon thousands of dreams and wishes come true and provided gifts and smiles to children and families in need. Last year alone they brightened the lives of over 2,100 children and adults.
The Christmas Project provides toys, gifts, and food certificates to children in need. Each family member has the opportunity to make their Christmas wish request. In addition to gifts each family is given a food certificate to help brighten their Christmas meal. Volunteers deliver the beautifully wrapped gifts to the residents of the migrant labor camps in Monterey/Santa Cruz County.
This year, through our MIIS community’s heartwarming generosity and good heartedness, we transformed the lives of 98 children and adults. In the past 4 years, we have helped make it possible for this program to bring such joy to nearly 500 children and their families!
This is a community event that I hope to continue for as long as I am here at MIIS and that when the day comes, that I am no longer here, it will be an honor to be the liaison for the project or pass the torch so that the event that has brought such great joy to our community, can be carried in wonderful and joyful service!!
Naomi R. Braswell
Operations Coordinator | Office Services & Gift Shop | MIIS Landlord Housing Info
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Phone: 831-647-4120 or 831-647-3572