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Volunteers Make ‘Christmas in the Park’ a Warm and Fuzzy Affair … by Larry Stewart

December 15, 2013
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They've Got It Covered: From left, Vicki Brown, Sandy Boulware, Michelle Boulware, Denore Hollar and Mrs. Hollar blanketed the Christmas in the Park event with the true spirit of giving.
They’ve Got It Covered: From left, Vicki Brown, Sandy Boulware, Michelle Boulware, Denae Hollar and Lori blanketed the Christmas in the Park event with the true spirit of giving.

You’ve got to hand it 14-year-old Denae Hollar. That’s because she handed out 30 beautiful hand-crafted tie blankets to those in need of something warm and fuzzy at the sixth annual Sowing Seeds for Life “Christmas in the Park” toy giveaway and food pantry held on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Ganesha Park in Pomona.
Credit the eighth grader at Ramona Middle School in La Verne for coming up with a great idea for earning her Silver Award as a Girl Scout Cadette.  The Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. The Gold Award, the next step, is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts but available only to those in high school.
If young Denae Hollar continues in scouting, she’s going to be hard-pressed to come up with a project that tops what she did for her Silver Award. She knew that in order to earn that award, she must engage in a project that would benefit those in her community.  She came through with flying colors – literally.
She spent 40-plus hours creating the colorful tie blankets that she handed out at Saturday at Ganesha Park. The blankets, consisting of two kinds of fabric, had to be cut so that ties could be created around them.
“Each blanket took about an hour and a half to do,” Denae said.
The Sowing Seeds for Life event was the perfect place for Denae to conclude her project. She and her friend from Troop No. 3094, Michelle Boulware, with help from their moms, set up a booth that became very popular during the event.
Michelle’s older sister Rachel, a senior at Bonita High, also worked the event as a volunteer, helping hand out the toys.
Sowing Seeds for Life is a La Verne-based charity founded by Vicki Brown, the CEO of DPI Labs, located at 1350 Arrow Highway. SSFL, as it is known for short, provides food and services to some 6,000 people per month, mainly through twice-a-month food pantries. They are held the first and third Wednesday of every month in the DPI Labs parking lot.
The charity’s annual “Christmas in the Park” event is one of its biggest functions of the year, as hundreds of children and their families show up to get a free toy and a photo with Santa Claus. The event also includes a food pantry that offers mostly non-perishable items, plus an impressive lineup of entertainment.

Volunteer Rachel Bouleware, a senior at Bonita High, waits for a young customer to decide on which toy he wants.
Volunteer Rachel Bouleware, a senior at Bonita High, waits for a young customer to decide on which toy he wants.

This year’s event was another successful one, despite a wardrobe malfunction of some sort for Santa. It caused a considerable delay and some anxious moments, but at least he didn’t have to go all the way to the North Pole to rectify the situation.
Santa eventually did show up, as did Pomona Mayor Elliott Rothman and Pomona City Council member Debra Martin.
The presence of the two city officials is further proof of the growing stature of Sowing Seeds for Life, as it has grown from a small vegetable garden planted by Vicki Brown at her home in Glendora in 2007 to what it is today.
And with young people like Denae Hollar and the Boulware sisters getting involved, plus all the hard work put in by Vicki Brown and her band of giving volunteers, SSFL figures to continue to grow and show that the city of La Verne is a giving place.