After a difficult year that left many people sick, jobless, and in desperate need of help, an El Paso woman decided that something needed to be done to give back to the community.
Janell Valles created the Facebook group “El Paso Spreading Christmas Cheer!” as a way for people in the community to help out families in need so that they could provide a nice Christmas for their loved ones. Once accepted to the group, users on the page could nominate a family or nominate their own family and give information on what things they needed help purchasing for the holiday season. Users then could see these posts and volunteer to sponsor individual people or entire families.
“There are a lot of needs everywhere, but I think we need to start at home,” explained Carlos Casillas, a user who sponsored a family on the page.
“We are doing this as a family because I want my daughters to know that life is not the same for everyone.”
This year has been particularly difficult for one El Paso mother who was nominated on the page by her own daughter. Melissa Mendoza explained to Daytime that she lost her job earlier this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and shortly thereafter became diagnosed with cancer.
“It made me very happy to know that somebody not knowing us, would reach out and provide something for somebody to have a happy moment,” Mendoza explained after her family had been adopted through the page.
The page has provided gifts for a total of 115 families and 374 children. Janell told Daytime that she would like to give a very special thanks to her sisters and the rest of her family who helped her manage the page and made this idea become a reality.
“It’s just been great to see the community come together in a time where we need it so we can help each other and provide a great Christmas for many families.”
If you would like to support Melissa Mendoza’s battle with cancer, you can do so here.