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Christmas for Everyone continues special holiday celebration

25th Year

Volunteer organizers have been scurrying around to make certain all the behind-the-scenes work is done before Sunday's big production. There are no reservations required. It's come as you are. An estimated 3,000 people of all walks of life will come through the lines to fill their bags with donated, gently-used clothing, receive a present, and enjoy the holiday fare and all the trimmings at the annual Christmas for Everyone event. Their estimated 300 to 400 hosts also will provide haircuts, face painting and other merriment on Christmas Day. Donated county vans will pick up guests from shelters, their homes, or at a BART stop. For the 25th year, Martinez resident Mary Perez and her cohorts -- some of them fellow alumnae of Alhambra High School -- have put together Christmas for Everyone, which will be held at the New Hope International Church in Concord. The event is produced entirely by their grass-roots efforts. The genesis of the event came during Perez' penchant for daydreaming as a means to fall asleep, and started with 100 people attending, a handful of volunteers, and an initial vision for it being just a one-year project. "It became a heartbeat," she says. On a recent Friday, with her signature flurry, Perez stops to pick up donated, handmade items from third graders at John Swett Elementary School. The children had decorated cans for homemade cookies to be delivered to seniors unable to leave their homes.
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