Season of sharing a reality for La Costa neighbors

LA COSTA — Continuing a five-year tradition, a special group of La Costa families once again put into action the true gift of sharing and loving your neighbor.
With donations from more than 70 people, the organizers, including La Costa mom Susan Wingate Wankier, worked to bring life back into balance for two area families who needed some help.
One recipient mother had been homeless with her 6-year-old and 12-year-old sons. She had just moved in with another mom who had 13-year-old and 17-year-old sons.
In an ongoing effort to give their youngsters a real understanding of how people much like them can find themselves homeless and helpless, this La Costa family each year sets up a bare tree, and holds an open house in December where everyone is invited to bring an ornament, and contribute food, gift cards or items on the chosen families wish list.
Many who are unable to attend the open house during this busy time of year, simply drop off an ornament and items ahead of time. This year, the tree was decked by at least two dozen families.
“I looked for an ‘adopted’ family much like our kids in the neighborhood — middle school and high schoolers now,” Wankier said. “We found these two families with four boys in similar grades to our own children.”
“Every year, it just gets better and better,” she said. “Special thanks to the Hoff family who hunted down those purple skinny jeans for Jordan, and the Shobes for supporting the cause, and the Pacheco family for the lovely gingerbread house. Thank you. En Fuego Cantina and owner John Wingate. for the amazing enchiladas and La Tienda wine.”
Collectively, the effort raised $500 in gift cards, as well as 15 boxes and bags of food, everything on the wish lists for both families of two boys including a PlayStation 2 and a laptop computer, and finally, a beautiful tree completely decked out.
“Even better, I have heard that the family who had been homeless and living in their broken-down truck for seven weeks, was gifted a 2008 Toyota Camry by an anonymous donor,” Wankier said.
For more information on this group’s ongoing service work, contact Susan Wingate Wankier at


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