Carlsbad business hosts holiday party and fundraiser

Carlsbad business hosts holiday party and fundraiser
From left: Justyn Martin, Ethan Stephenson, and brothers Milo and Sebastian McCormick meet Santa at the Carlsbad headquarters of Extraordinary Conceptions. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

CARLSBAD — Children scampered into the Carlsbad headquarters of Extraordinary Conceptions, an international surrogate and egg donor agency, to sit on Santa’s lap and rattle off their Christmas gift wish list. Some lists were long and others quite short.

While the children kept Santa busy, the afternoon also painted a day brimful of giving back to the local Vista nonprofit, Solutions for Change.

Solutions for Change help homeless families by placing them in a shelter and then ultimately transferring them to transitional housing. It’s dedicated to find a myriad of solutions to combat homelessness through education and awareness.

The Dec. 16 debut event marked a day of hope for the holidays.

The collection box for Solutions for Change overflowed with blankets, children’s pajamas, clothing, and toys for boys and girls of all ages.

“I am just overjoyed,” said Stephanie Barry, a volunteer at Solutions for Change. Barry shared that as a child, sometimes the Christmas season couldn’t afford her the gift she wanted. But looking at the pile of toys in front of her at the Extraordinary Conceptions’ lobby was emotionally overwhelming.

“This is such a special gift and Extraordinary Conceptions has been so generous,” she said, adding how the company also made a kind donation.

The gifts will be wrapped and distributed at the nonprofits’ upcoming holiday party.

Barry shared she had a special link with the Carlsbad-based business. She applied to be a surrogate in 2012.

“In June of 2014, I gave birth to a baby girl,” she said, adding how it was an international surrogacy journey. “I still keep in touch with Extraordinary Conceptions because there is a special family bond here.”

Director of marketing at Extraordinary Conceptions, Erica Hawkesworth, said their company is so fortunate to have grown over the years. It moved from its very small space in San Elijo Hills about three years ago.

According to Hawkesworth, they wanted to have an open-house style event to introduce themselves to local Carlsbad businesses and residents, as well as inviting its neighbors in San Marcos to come see how they have grown.

“We also wanted to invite our clients, surrogates and egg donors to stop by meet everyone in person, since much of our business is done over the Internet, Skype and social media. The holidays seemed like a perfect time to do this,” she said. Hawkesworth continued, “So the idea was quickly born and we invited Santa to come be in Polaroid pictures with the kids while everyone could enjoy hot cocoa, sweet treats and enter in a raffle for $100 gift cards to five terrific stores.”

The holiday gathering lasted two hours and nearly 100 people came by to visit Santa and donate to Solutions for Change.

“It was a really great morning getting to meet everyone and their children and have some great conversations,” Hawkesworth said. She added, “Stephanie had tears in her eyes as we loaded up her SUV with all the new clothing, toys and games for the kids. She said that she can’t wait to see the look on their faces when they receive all of these great gifts.”

To learn more about Solutions for Change visit solutionsforchange.org

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