On Saturday, September 16th, the Good SamariTots will be holding their first Rummage Sale Fundraiser. Beginning at 8:00 a.m. on the front lawn of the Oneonta Campus (1515 Garfield Avenue), items ranging from baby clothes to kitchenware to pianos, a foosball table(!) will be available for purchase. All proceeds will support the preschool-friendly community service projects offered by the Good SamariTots. Children will also be able to participate in community service projects benefiting the Salvation Army and San Gabriel Humane Society during the event.
Founded in 2016 by Kelly Kwan, the Good SamariTots is a nonprofit organization that fosters compassion and social responsibility through community service projects geared toward children. During meetings participants create cards for the sick and elderly; assemble care packages for local deployed service members and homeless shelters; make toys for sheltered animals; and have the opportunity to get out of doors to clean up parks and plant trees. The Good SamariTots also visit retirement and nursing facilities, as well as the offices of local public servants.
Kwan grew up in Southern California by way of Northern California and came to South Pasadena after grad school at USC. After her daughter was born in 2013, she ended up leaving grad school to stay home full time. Kwan and her husband love South Pas and have met friends at the Y, Garfield Park, Farmers Market and says, “It seems like everywhere we go we run into someone we know”. They attend Oneonta and that’s where SamriTots hold their meetings.
When Kwan’s daughter was two, she began looking for volunteer opportunities to begin teaching her to be a caring person. Everywhere she went, she was told her daughter was too young. She thought, “what if there was a Mommy & Me group where the goal was to do community service… to create a space where children could learn to begin helping their community at a young age? And if I need that, I’m sure there are other Moms who are in need of this too.” And SamariTots was born. It’s a secular group but Kwan says that Oneonta has been amazing and very supportive from day one including a start-up grant. SamariTots recently received a grant from VistaPrint which Kwan says “has been really helpful because we don’t quite have our 501-C3 status yet.”
They started out with ten tots and now they have over forty! They meet twice a month and every meeting is geared towards a community service project. They begin with a song and storytime with the stories having to do with the theme of the day such as hunger, animal shelters, foster care programs, “all at their level of understanding just to get their minds thinking,” says Kwan, “then we have discussion time and then break up into groups and we have volunteers to help out.” Each meeting focuses usually on a local non-profit like Rosemary Childrens Services Foster Care Program or Door of Hope, making meals, cookies and cards for the residents.
Kwan stresses that it’s a free group; all supplies are taken care of, so parents are free to just come with their children and participate.
Since their first meeting, the Good SamariTots has served more than a dozen local nonprofits and families in need. With more than 40 children in the program, Good SamariTots is expanding to meet the growing need for a place where “tiny hands can do big deeds.”
Donate your kitchen items, toys, clothing, etc. by Friday, September 15th and shop to support the Good SamariTots at their Rummage Sale Fundraiser on Saturday, September 16th between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
For further information and a full list of upcoming meetings and activities contact:
Kelly Kwan at Kelly@goodsamaritots.org (925) 818-8728
Here is what’s in store for October!
Monday, October 2nd – Cookies and Cards for the South Pasadena Fire Department
Join us as we show our appreciation for our local Fire Department! Tots will decorate cookies and thank you cards for the women and men that keep our neighborhood safe.
Monday, October 16th – Emergency Preparedness
Join us as we assemble and distribute emergency kits to local senior citizens! Tots will learn the importance of emergency preparedness and share their knowledge with our senior neighbors.
Story time for all meetings begins at 3:00pm in the Tower Room on the Oneonta Campus (1515 Garfield Avenue, South Pasadena)