The year was 2012. The horrible events of the Sandy Hook school shooting unfolded in December. One young student, Lily Jaramillo, heard the call from newscaster Ann Curry to make the holiday about others and a suggestion to “pay it forward”. Every year since then, Lily has distributed at least 26 gifts to homeless and to less fortunate veterans, mostly without family, taking a moment to remember the 26 victims of that tragic day with 26 acts of kindness. Lily’s friends always join the effort. This holiday season, Angelina Dubois and Allison Neiderpruim have been busy with Lily, wrapping and delivering presents.
Former Indian River County school principal, Dr. Calvin “Bud” Gill, admired Lily’s efforts on behalf of vets so he kept in touch with her, inspiring her along the way. This year, he made a connection to The Bombas Sock company and the company gave 250 pairs of their high quality and socks. Bombas has a generous corporate culture, having made over 50 million donations of essential clothing items to bring comfort to the homeless and vulnerable that are not always obvious, yet are among us.
On December 23rd, Lily, Angelina and Alison dropped 200 pairs of socks to The Source, a fulltime resource center and Christian outreach mission for the homeless and less fortunate. They provide both material and spiritual support to individuals in dire need of assistance. Hot meals and clean showers are provided to over 100 homeless individuals, daily. The balance of the socks will go to veterans.
The students’ Christmas “pay it forward project” culminates with gifts being delivered to 3 veteran homes in Indian River County, along with Christmas Eve dinner. The Vet homes are a project of “Every Dream Has a Price”, a non-profit organization in Indian River County. Their mission is to ensure the availability of high-quality affordable housing to income eligible residents and provide hope and encouragement to families who demonstrate a need and desire to maintain their own home.