Ridger Rudy M. and Activities Assistant Julian delivered 100 of the blessing bags to Lorena (center) at the Corona (Calif.) Norco Settlement House.

At UCC-related Peppermint Ridge — a residential community for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Corona, Calif. — the Volunteer Club meets regularly to find new ways of giving back to its neighbors. This past Christmas season, the “Ridgers” decided to make “blessing bags” for homeless persons.

The bags are filled with snacks, toiletries, beanies, and other much-needed items.

“The Ridgers have big hearts for their community,” says Samantha Jimenez, activities coordinator at Peppermint Ridge. “This is the second year of creating the blessing bags, and they are excited to continue the tradition every holiday season.”

The first year, the goal was 50 bags, which was easily met. This year, the members of the Volunteer Club wanted to do more. With help from several community partners, the Ridgers assembled and delivered 250 blessing bags to area outreach organizations.

“It is always humbling how our community wants to help us achieve our goals. These relationships are invaluable,” says Jimenez.

Community organizations — including a local church, the local Boy and Girl Scouts, and other groups — helped gather or donated many of the items for the blessing bags. They also met with the Ridgers to help assemble the bags.

“The blessing bags project is one of the many ways the Ridgers can give back to the community that has done so much for them,” Jimenez says.

The project “allows groups to come together for the greater good and help those who are less fortunate in our community,” she adds. “The Volunteer Club gives Ridgers the opportunity to experience the feeling of giving back.”

Learn more about CHHSM member Peppermint Ridge.