Christmas in October

Hundreds of Volunteers Give Homes Makeover

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Greg Bledsoe

    Christmas arrived a little early for a handful of families in Chula Vista.

    "We've seen a lot of houses where people need help," said Emerald Randolph who started this program she calls Christmas in October.

    Christmas in October

    [DGO] Christmas in October
    250 Volunteers make "Christmas in October" a success (Published Sunday, Oct 11, 2009)

    It's become its own tradition. This is the 13th straight year volunteers have helped renovate, remodel, or just revamp a few chosen homes in Chula Vista.

    This year, about 250 people donated their time working on five homes. One of those belongs to Sean and Nancy Vanderziel and their daughter Monique.

    "To know that people care makes all the difference in the world," said Sean.

    The couple says it's been a tough year.  All of the families chosen for the help meet low income guidelines.

    "We struggle to make ends meet," he says, "My wife works the graveyard shift.  I work during the day.  We just try to put all the pieces together."

    The materials and a lot of the labor comes from corporate sponsors.  This year, Goodrich Aerospace, North Island Credit Union, Lowe's, Home Depot, Chula Vista Rotary, Chula Vista Kiwanis and Bonita Kiwanis all had teams working on homes and provided materials.

    "When we leave a place, we know that the homeowner is safer, more comfortable, and warmer," said Randolph.

    Sean Vanderziel has lived in that house since he was born.  Now, it'll have new landscaping, new carpet, a patched roof, and new paint.

    "I can't believe people do this," said Nancy, "We're looking forward to helping next year."

    Emerald Randolph estimates they've worked on about 90 houses over the past 13 years.  She says she plans to do this as long as she's able.

    "We can make a difference, I think," she says, "One house at a time, we can make a difference."