Making Christmas merry
Families enjoy Santa, camaraderie, pizza and toys
The warmth of caring and Christmas cheer filled the community room of the library Tuesday evening as dozens of people sat at festively decorated tables sharing a meal of pizza while children ran around with toys they'd just received from Santa.
It all started when Niosha Jamali and friends at her dance studio in Dublin began to gather gently used clothing for children. When they talked to firefighters about helping people in need, one suggested that they contact the families who live at the Fairgrounds near the stables where they work.
"My wife and I went to the Fairground stables to adopt three families but ended up adopting seven families," reported Jay Jamali, Niosha's husband. "The first family that we met was a blonde, blue-eyed mother of two whose wish list included a baseball glove for her 6-year-old boy and a skateboard for her 13-year-old son.
"When my wife Niosha asked her what she wanted for Christmas she firmly replied she had everything she needed and her only need was for her children."
The dance friends continued to gather clothes, toys, books, CDs and gift cards, then decided to hold a party for the families, too. Jay donned a Santa suit to visit with the children and give them toys. Tables in the back of the room displayed stacks of clothing for the parents to choose what their family needed.
The week before the event, the Jamalis' Pleasanton home was filled with piles of donations collected by the women.
"We were able to give out $2,000 in gift cards," Niosha said as she tended to guests at the party.
A single mom from Livermore was also a guest, along with her sons. The group had heard about her and invited the three to share in the fun and the gifts.
She shared her tale of financial woe, saying she hopes it will be temporary but meanwhile how wonderful that these folks had stepped up to give others a Christmas.
"What would the world do without people like that?" she asked.