Steven’s Hope in Upland helping kids during holidays and year round

Posted by on November 22, 2011

Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer

Created: 11/21/2011 06:02:53 AM PST

(Will Lester/Staff Photographer) Tony and Sandy Cappelli, founders of Steven's Hope For Children in Upland, stand in their store Wednesday November 2, 2011.

UPLAND – For many seriously ill children and their families, Steven’s Hope for Children is Santa Claus.

“A lot of families send us pictures of their kids Christmas morning just beaming because they’ve gotten something,” Tony Cappelli said. “Whether it’s a game they really wanted or not they’re beaming because they got something and they didn’t expect it.”

Steven’s Hope provides housing and support to families of ill children. They have three apartments near Loma Linda University MedicalĀ  Center where families can stay during their child’s treatments.

Through Winter Wonderland, sick children and their siblings submit their holiday gift wishes. A donor will sign up to fulfill those wishes.

Last year they gave out more than 3,800 gifts to more than 1,000 children from six local hospitals.

“It’s a prayer that we get all the wishes filled. It’s a little scary when you head out into an economy like this, but last year we exceeded everything that we could imagine,” Sandy Cappelli said. “I’m just praying we get enough to get all the kids sponsored again. Our goal is to hit over 1,000 again.”

Similar to many nonprofits, Steven’s Hope is working hard to stay afloat financially, but have seen donations grow for its Wonderland program.

“People they don’t have money,” Sandy Cappelli said. “This is why it’s such a huge program for us because they all want to deliver toys. I can’t get a check, but I can get toys, which is good. We’re making the best of that and helping as many people as we can help through that.”

This year they are looking for toys and sponsorships for two holiday parties in December.

Donors also can hold toy drives to help provide toys for the children at the parties.

“They all sit there holding this gift form Santa Claus, because Santa is the one who delivers it, – to see their little faces and to watch them open these gifts – it is so fun,” Sandy Cappelli said. “They don’t even know we load their trunk up for Christmas.”

Because the Cappellis want to continue to see those happy smiling faces, they are kicking off a new program that will spread the Christmas spirit year round.

“We just don’t want the spirit of Christmas to end on Dec. 25,” Tony Cappelli said.

They are looking for funding to support 25 families throughout the year with gift cards for food and gas as well as family celebrations.

Since their inception more than 10 years ago, Steven’s Hope has become more than housing.

Not only does it provide gifts for sick children and their families at Christmas, it also has two kids clothing boutiques, and try to support families with food, gas cards and family events.

Steven’s Hope opened the two boutiques, one next to their office at 1014 W. Foothill Blvd., Suite C and one in Rancho Cucamonga at 10730 Foothill Blvd., Suite 170.

They offer gift cards to their boutique for parents to buy their children clothing and toys.

The proceeds from the boutiques go to fund their programs and apartments.

“It adds up. It really does,” Sandy Cappelli said. “I just feel like we’re not just about one thing. We’re about hitting the needs of what the families are. We look at their situation and we can accommodate what needs to be done. ”

For more information on Steven’s Hope and its programs visit www.stevenshope.org

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– sandra.emerson@inlandnewspapers.com, 909-483-8555, @UplandNow

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