By Suzanne Sproul, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 11/19/14, 3:54 PM PST |
It was a packed house at the recent Steven’s Hope luncheon to outline progress on “There is Hope,” but more importantly, discuss dreams for the future.
And those dreams are big. The Upland-based organization started off 12 years ago to help provide temporary housing to families caring for severely ill children. That effort grew to helping with daily necessities and now it encompasses a goal of someday having a full-fledged campus.
The annual gathering is designed to be an hour to inspire people to help change a life. But it’s also a powerful testimonial to a family’s faith and love in believing there is hope even in times of despair. That story – of the Cappellis of Upland – began in earnest with a little boy who only lived 32 hours in 2000, but whose life continues to impact many today.
His story, along with those of others helped by the organization that bears his name, highlighted the seventh annual fundraising luncheon. Sandy and Tony Cappelli found out early in her pregnancy that their son, Steven Joseph Cappelli, had a fatal heart defect. The Upland couple didn’t waver in their decision to proceed with the pregnancy in hopes of donating his organs. That wasn’t possible, but the legacy lives on. Today, Steven’s Hope helps families coping with living with an injured or seriously ill child. Steven’s Hope provides financial support and housing to those families, but more importantly it serves as a support network in what is usually a lengthy ordeal.
Last year alone, Steven’s Hope helped 3,000 children. Jason Sgrignoli is the Chairman of the Board. He introduced several of the families helped by the organization, including Isabella Vahanian and her mom, Wendy, father Gregory, and sister, Gabriela.
Each year, Steven’s Hope recognizes a volunteer for his or her outstanding contribution. This year’s honoree is Gary Johnson, a former engineer and teacher who works tirelessly at the organization’s Children’s Boutique in Rancho Cucamonga.
Despite a record number of success stories, there is always much more that can be done. That takes money. Sandy Cappelli thanked Jersey Mike’s Subs for selecting them as a charity to help in its March promotion. Twenty Inland Empire stores participated and earned $122,000 for Steven’s Hope. And AM/PM stores also have contributed more than $100,000.
Corporate gifts are a wonderful mainstay, but the nonprofit relies heavily on local support. This year, Steven’s Hope opened its fourth apartment where families can stay when their children are being cared for, many times at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Last, Christmas, as part of its annual Winter Wonderland program, the nonprofit provided gifts to 6,000 children.
Steven’s Hope supporters also are in full holiday mode again this year. The annual Winter Wonderland toy campaign needs donations. Anyone who would like to adopt a family, arrangements can be made. Sponsors are needed, too, for the annual Winter Wonderful Christmas party for Steven’s Hope children and families.
Donations and sponsorships of all amounts are welcome. For more information about Steven’s Hope, call 909-373-0678.
Seen at the Scene: Alexa Cappelli, who sang; Donna and John Russo; Dale and Lynette Edelson; and Jim and Marcia Flock.