Erin Phillips knows the spirit of Christmas giving is alive and well in San Bernardino.
Phillips, president and CEO of Children's Fund -- a nonprofit that provides services to the county's abused and neglected children -- has seen people join together to raise much needed funding.
The last two weeks has been a boon for the organization.
It received more than $140,000 in donations from Bonnes Meres Auxiliary, First 5 San Bernardino, Sheriff's Academy Class 187 and the San Bernardino Department of Child Support Services.
Together, it's one of the most generous funding periods the 26-year-old nonprofit has seen, Phillips said.
Officials are still trying to figure out what prompted the holiday
The group didn't do anything significantly different this year compared to last. And given San Bernardino's fiscal troubles, leaders of the organization weren't expecting such a boon of contributions.
But no one is quibbling.
In a county where one in four children are living in poverty, and more than 5,000 are in the county's foster care system, the money is vital for programs, according to Phillips.
"The prevalence of need in our county is so huge," Phillips said. "We believe children are resilient but they need help now," she said.
That's where the funding is vital. Abused and neglected children need clothes, - sweatpants and sweatshirts, clean underwear - medical care, blankets, shelter and other basic necessities when they become displaced from their homes.
The donations came in earnest starting November.
Bonnes Meres -the fundraising arm of Children's Fund - presented Children's Fund a check for $70,000, raised at the auxiliary's Nov. 8 auction, "Fruitage," to assist at-risk children in the county.
Auction chairwoman Nana Allen said she did not expect the high amount raised at the event.
"Yet without a doubt, the consistent, positive
But Santa Claus came early in other ways.
On Tuesday, the nonprofit received a $50,000 check from First 5 San Bernardino, a county agency that provides services to children up to 5 years old.
"It is truly all about the kids," said Karen E. Scott, First 5 executive director. "We strive to honor and respect the diversity of our community and prioritize the needs to ensure optimal health and development for young children and their families."
Generous donations also came from the Sheriff's Academy Class 187, $18,466; and the San Bernardino Department of Child Support Services, $5,761.
Christmas gifts presented to Children's Fund this month totaled more than $140,000.
The First 5 donation was the result of the nonprofit's October partnership agreement with the county to help expand a variety of programs, including the county's Children's Fund Assesment Center, which provides interviews and medical evaluations of children.
"It was a Christmas miracle," Phillips said.