Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | December 10, 2020

Bayview Mission Holiday Giving Tree


A gathering of the Bayview community years before the pandemic.

Traditions Change Amidst Pandemic

For years, the Bayview Mission Holiday Giving Tree has kicked off the Christmas season following Thanksgiving. Every year Grace Cathedral, in collaboration with the Cathedral School for Boys and Bayview Mission, provides toys and necessities to children and families all across the Bayview community. Unfortunately, like everything else in 2020, this year will be different but thankfully, no less special. 

In years past, a Christmas tree would be set up in the Chapter House, adorned with paper ornaments. These ornaments would have children’s names and their Christmas wishes inscribed upon them. Students from the Cathedral School for Boys and their families would purchase gifts in an effort to make these wishes come true, and the students would make cards for children in the Bayview community. Before mid-December there is an annual gift wrapping party, followed a week later by a holiday party at Bayview Mission where the gifts are distributed. While the pandemic certainly posed an obstacle to tradition, Grace Cathedral modified accommodations to be able to continue on. 

A young bike rider at the Bayview gathering in 2019, before the pandemic.

For the first time in years there would be no physical tree or wishes, but instead an Amazon wishlist. The wrapping party would require a temperature check, masks to be worn and participants to social distance (along with mandatory holiday cheer). However, with San Francisco now in the purple tier of COVID with a more stringent lockdown in place, the wrapping and holiday parties have been cancelled. The outreach ministry, however, will not let a lockdown stop them from making this holiday season bright. 

Despite the parties’ cancellation, the Holiday Giving Tree continues on course. One volunteer and the family within their bubble will now tale on the task of gift wrapping and preparing the family bags for the week following. Two members of one Bayview family will now pick up their family bag and children’s gifts at a scheduled time. Thanks to the flexibility of the outreach ministry, over 350 children and families will still receive toys and necessities this holiday season, with gifts going to 50 infants, 45 preschoolers, 48 elementary students, 26 teens, along with care bags for families that include groceries, hand sanitizer and other assorted items. 

While it may be easy to call 2020 the hardest year of recent memory, the determination shown to preserve this special holiday tradition proves the resoluteness of the human spirit and our desire to help our neighbors in times of need. 

For those who wish to donate for the holidays, we are currently accepting:

  • Unused/unopened toiletries
  • New towels and washcloths
  • New socks
  • Canned food
  • Dental supplies
  • Diapers and training pants
  • New/unused baby clothing (onesies, etc.) and baby blankets
  • New boxed toys, such as Legos

It is also our hope to provide families with paper towels, toilet paper, facial tissue, soap, detergent, adult socks, and non-toxic cleaning supplies. If you are in a position to bring some of these supplies to Bayview Mission, our families would be very grateful. Lastly, handmade Christmas cards would be a lovely touch!

For all other inquiries, please contact Tracee Zyla at 415-749-6351.

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