"AROUND SUNOL" by VICTORIA CHRISTIAN


December 8, 2003

She thought she was only attending a wedding at the Little Brown Church of Sunol, but after discovering the quaint, little, country church, Stacy Ashcraft decided to join as a member nearly 9 years ago. Although a Hayward resident, Stacy is the driving force behind a congregation of very generous members who contribute to the church's Adopt-A-Family outreach program during the Christmas holiday. "I'm amazed by the large outpouring considering the small size of the church and even outside community members contribute, because it's roughly $5,000 in donations", said Pastor Ron Hunt. When the program was first launched in 1995 the church provided gifts and holiday meals for 7 families. In comparison this year the program will be providing for 53 people of 15 families; which includes 2 gifts, one practical and one fun, for each person, a complete Christmas meal and 45 fully stuffed stockings for the children! Stacy starts her campaign in October when she contacts local agencies such as Shepard's Gate and Tri-Cities Homeless Coalition, then it's "wrap night" as church members gather on December 18 to wrap all the gifts in brightly colored paper, ribbons and bows. And finally on December 20, Santa Stacy and her team of elves will be delivering the gifts to families in San Leandro, Livermore, Alameda, Union City, Fremont and Hayward.

If you are interested in contributing to the church's Adopt-A-Family outreach program, please call Stacy at (510) 276-0192 or Office Manager, Lina Owsley, at the Little Brown Church of Sunol at (926) 862-2004.

A very warm thank-you to the Pacific Locomotive Association for providing the town with a free "only for Sunolioans" ride on the Holiday Train of Lights during the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 29. It's another fun way to get together with your friends and neighbors for some holiday cheer during this busy season. The Holiday Train seems to get bigger and more beautiful every year and I have been told that the "creative inspiration" behind the holiday decorations every year is stage manager, Dexter Day with the help of over 100 "elves" putting in an average of 2,500 volunteer hours.

The beautifully decorated train awaited us as we boarded and I immediately noticed that I was sitting in a new train car. According to David Ernest, Manager of the gift shop at the Niles Canyon Railway, this was the first trip for their new outdoor "Park Car" recently built "from the ground up" late this summer by the Pacific Locomotive Association members and volunteers.

Also on it's maiden voyage through Niles Canyon the evening of November 29, was their "All-Day Lunch" car. Acquired by the PLA from Southern Pacific nearly 15 years ago and stored at their Concord facility, this was its first run through the canyon. This car originally traveled from San Francisco to San Jose and served a light fare of sandwiches and drinks only and of course, all day. Although operable, there are no plans to use this car as a dining facility. But I have been invited to tour the dining car that is currently being restored at their storage/repair facility and I am told that it will be absolutely beautiful when completed.

Thank you also to the Grandfathers and Grandmothers of the Most Beautiful Babies Club for coordinating the ticket lottery for the Sunol residents to ride on the Holiday Train of Lights and of course the wonderful get together in the community park.

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