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  • Writer's pictureCIMI

2020 CIMI - Sponsor a Family for the Holidays Drive

December 31, 2020

What a year! The COVID-19 pandemic made the lives of the underserved families, who were already struggling to make ends meet, very difficult. The service jobs disappeared as restaurants shut down. Children lacking technology access and parental guidance for their school work struggled with distance learning. The sponsors for the Family Sponsor Drive met the challenge by going above and beyond last year’s generous gift.

The socially-distanced gift presentation event took place on the mornings of December 17 and 19 at the Brenda Lopez Memorial Plaza in San Jose, California. CIMI organized this event to make the gift presentation interaction as safe as possible for the families and the volunteers. The families were scheduled to drive by the pick-up site in 15-minute increments. The sponsors and volunteers wearing masks and face shields handed the gifts through the car window. Hand sanitizers were used after each interaction.

A Glimpse into the Life of a Sponsored Family

One of Paty’s daughters attended CIMI’s Coding and Robotics program one year ago. The instructors and CIMI volunteers could see that she had talent for coding. Her thirst for knowledge was fueled by her mother, Paty. Paty believes that that only way to get out of the hole is education. A few years ago, she was interviewed by a local newspaper that was writing an inspirational story of how a mother in an underserved community managed to keep the family together and held the children to high academic standards. It is a big task for a mother of eight children, where one daughter attends Santa Clara University on full scholarship and another daughter attends Notre Dame High School, a private school, also on full scholarship. Other children in elementary and middle schools have excellent grades. Having all eight children excel in their studies is a huge accomplishment for Paty, but it comes with struggles behind the scenes. Paty’s daughter Maria did not have a computer to use for her classes so the school provided her with an old one. The school computer was slow and her classmates were complaining that she was taking too long. Maria cried and told her mother of her difficulties. Paty begged her husband to buy a new computer for their daughter. He said, “No, there is no money.” Then Paty went to her brother and convinced him to buy a computer on credit. This allowed Maria to be efficient in her assignments and keep up with her classmates. In December 2020, Paty received gift cards from CIMI’s Sponsor a Family Holiday Drive. This allowed her to buy the much-needed computer accessories such as computer charger and headphones for her children. Other families sponsored by CIMI have their own stories. We are grateful for the generous sponsors and donors who made a difficult Christmas during a pandemic just a bit brighter for these families.


CIMI raised a total of $70,000 through this drive, of which $33,000 was used for this event. The number of families participating in CIMI programs has grown over the years due to the generosity of our donors. 55 families representing 236 members received Visa, Target, or Home Depot gift cards during this event. CIMI volunteers organized the gift purchases and connected the sponsors with the families. The balance of $37,000 will be used to fund the CIMI Coding/Robotics, Run/Walk and Sponsor a Family programs in 2021.

The number of families participating in CIMI programs has grown over the years due to the generosity of our donors. A majority of the sponsored families participated in the CIMI programs in 2020: 80% of them participated in the Run/Walk program with their entire family for health and fitness; and 10% of them participated in the Tutoring program to help the children with distance learning.

In past years, prior to the COVID crisis, CIMI has held a luncheon and party for the sponsors and families at the Campbell Community Center to present gifts to the families. The sponsors and families got to interact with each other as they shared a wonderfully prepared meal by the families. We look forward to when we can have such a party again! We thank all our volunteers for helping to make this year’s Sponsor a Family drive by such a huge success.

CIMI also helped 10 families in San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua this year. These impoverished families suffered water damages in November 2020 when two category 4 hurricanes, Eta and Iota, made landfall in Central America. CIMI provided basic supplies and food to these families.

This woman in pink coordinated the distribution of food and supplies to these families.

I want to give infinite thanks to Sherry for sponsoring us in these difficult times, may God fill everyone in her family with health. I have no words to thank for how much she did for my family and me, I feel blessed and very grateful for everything. THANK YOU. -Joaquina

Merry Christmas to you and your entire team at CIMI. My family and I would like to thank and wish Merry Christmas to the donors who sponsored us. It was a great help. Although I have not yet been able to buy gifts for my daughters, I am very grateful for everything you have done for all the families in the community. I could not thank you for everything because I felt very bad. I did not want anything because I got COVID-19, but thankfully I got over it and I am better. A thousand thanks for the help from CIMI. May you have happy holidays.

-Villicaña Family

I hope you are well and that this Christmas you had a good time. I want to thank the person who chose me this Christmas. My family and I had a Christmas dinner and my children had a gift. God bless this lady who has such a big heart that she will always be in my prayers. On behalf of Madrigal family, a thousand thousand thanks! -Soccoro

Hello CIMI, this year was so difficult not only for me or my family, but I think it was difficult for everybody. At least in my family we had a very very wonderful help and support during this time. CIMI became part of my family and that is something for which I will always be grateful. Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Peggy, my kids enjoyed Christmas. I bought them their toys, one scooter to each one of them. We have a lot to celebrate because we have clothes, shoes, and a wonderful and delicious dinner for Christmas. For a moment my family forgot the pandemic and the money problems we had. We used part of the help we received to pay some bills.

Thank you to CIMI for making this possible. We continue walking and enjoying the time we spent together. Thank you. -Rosario

Thank you Sponsors!

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