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Families brighten the season for those in need

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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The holidays are a time when the smell of fresh pine and sweet cookies fills homes, Santa makes the rounds to deliver gifts and the house glistens with lights. But it’s also a time to give back. Two Rocklin families have made it their mission this season to help those in need. Tasia Stone and her family adopted two Rocklin families for the holidays. Through fundraisers, they’re able to give them more than a few gifts under the tree. Debbie Shepard recently held the second annual family skate night, in which proceeds go to the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento. The nonprofit is a refuge for children who have been abused, providing a place to live, food, clothing and more. Stone and her husband, with four boys of their own, are reaching out this Christmas to two families who have been hit hard by the economy and life. One family is struggling to pay bills and keep up with their car payments and mortgage, Stone said. The father is working part-time after being laid off and the mother is attending nursing school, while also looking for a job. “She was really down and out and couldn’t pay the monthly bills,” Stone said of the mother. Stone and her husband, along with her parents, paid the family’s December bills. The other family consists of a single mother of five. The mother was injured and was unable to work for a year, which left them with little. Now, they are rebuilding their lives in a tough economy. The family’s top need was a computer, which the Stone family was able to give them. In addition to helping with expenses for the two families, the Stones have been fundraising to purchase Christmas gifts and clothing. By selling cookies and hot cocoa for $3 in their neighborhood last weekend, they raised more than $500, Stone said. With a prime location off Strand Road – a neighborhood in Rocklin known for the decorative houses and a constant flow of onlookers – Stone said between 200 and 300 people came out Friday evening. Santa Claus also made an appearance and welcomed photos with children while DJ Zay donated his time to play festive music for the crowd. The festivities will continue again Saturday with Santa, music and goodies for sale. Treats will also be available Friday and Sunday. Stone said that although they’ve helped families in the past through Giving Tree gifts, never to this extent. “It’s definitely a lot more rewarding,” she said. Last year, Shepard was so touched by the results of her skating night, she decided to go for round two. Families not only grabbed their roller skates, but a gift or money to donate to children of the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento. The result was approximately $400 and four large bins of toys and clothing, she said. Shepard said the donations will help about 50 children – a relatively low number due to budget cuts and less social workers. “It left me feeling so grateful we could help those kids that are safe in the shelter, but so sad for all those kids out there that aren’t being protected,” Shepard said. After last year’s fundraiser, Shepard said an anonymous man matched their donation of $500 for the nonprofit. Stone and Shepard said giving back not only feels good, but it teaches their children about generosity and appreciation. “If you can give back, that’s such a great thing to do,” Stone said. Help two Rocklin families for Christmas How: purchase cookies and hot cocoa for $3 When: 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday Where: Stone residence, 3069 Strand Road, Rocklin Money raised will go toward purchasing toys and clothing for two families adopted by the Stone family for Christmas