Children everywhere look forward to gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.
Sadly, not all children will receive presents during the holiday season. With 23.3% of families living below the poverty rate in Victorville alone, many will go without even the basic needs this Christmas.
Doreen Browne, owner of Oasis Hair Salon in Victorville, has knowledge of the needs of local school children from some of her clients that are teachers. So, she decided to do something about it.
It all started eight years ago when Doreen’s salon gave a free haircut to anyone who brought in a new toy for a child. They collected 20 toys during the first year and gave them to Doreen’s friend and client, Lisa Ladao, a teacher from Liberty Elementary.
“I picked up the toys that first year and distributed them to the students at Liberty,’ said Lisa. “It’s grown so much since then. Now several schools are involved. Doreen’s initial idea snowballed and I feel fortunate to be a part of it.”
After the toy drive doubled the following year and continued to grow, Doreen added a few more schools and decided to make it an evening event selling raffle tickets to clients to raise money to buy Christmas gifts for needy children in the community.
“It warmed my heart so much that we were making a difference and the event was growing,” said Doreen.
The ‘Oasis Client Charity Christmas Event’ will donate to following local elementary schools this holiday season: Liberty, Village, Vista Verde, Academy, Morgan Kincaid Preparatory, and Helendale; as well as Melva Davis Academy of Excellence middle school.
Teachers and administrators from the schools compile a list of students in foster care and from the neediest families.
“Each school gets raffle tickets from Oasis and we sell them to teachers and people in the community,” said Lisa. “The money from the raffle tickets is used when we go to Target and buy gifts for the children from all the schools. Target has been amazing!”
After purchasing the gifts, each school takes them back to wrap and distribute to the elementary school students. The older students from Melva Davis Academy of Excellence middle school receive gifts from Bath and Body Works.
“To see the look on these kids’ faces is overwhelming,” said Bonnie Katz, an administrative assistant from Melva Davis Academy of Excellence. “It’s just lotion and body spray. But when you’re a teenager, it means a lot. They walk out with some confidence and a smile on their face. It’s life-changing.”
As the event has steadily continued to grow in size and popularity with the clients and in the community, local businesses have jumped on board in support. Stine Chiropractic, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Pepperidge Farms, and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Apple Valley will donate to the charity event.
Last year, Oasis celebrated a milestone of 25 years in business at the Client Charity Christmas event raising more than $10,000.
“We raised $8,855 at last year’s event,” said Doreen’s daughter, Katey-Bug Smith.” But the donations kept pouring in and we hit ten grand! It’s honestly unbelievable to say that.”
This year’s Client Charity Christmas Event will be held at Oasis Hair Salon at 13622 Bear Valley Rd. #8 in Victorville Tuesday, December 3, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
When guests arrive, raffle tickets will be available for purchase at the door. Once inside, they can shop from the many local vendor booths while snacking on delicious homemade appetizers and cocktails made by Doreen and Katey-Bug.
Raffle tickets sell for $5 or five for $20. For the raffle, Oasis donates hair care baskets while the vendors provide product donations along with the contributions from local businesses which ensure some lovely prizes. All the proceeds raised go directly to the gifts for the children.
Paula McCune from Damsel in Defense has been a vendor from the beginning. “I think it’s so important to support our local kids in need and I like being a part of an event that makes our community better,” said Paula.
Sixteen local vendors will be a part of this year’s festivities selling jewelry, candles, homemade beef jerky, books, painted signs, handpainted tumblers, cake pops, handmade macramé goods, toxin-free skincare, women’s and children’s clothing, and more.
“Yes, it’s fun and it’s memorable. But the reason we do it is to bring the community together and make a child—in our case 396 to be exact— feel joy on Christmas morning. God has blessed us tremendously,” said Katey-Bug.
To purchase raffle tickets, donate in person at the salon or through Venmo @Oasis-HairSalon. For more information call 760-245-1534.