Ephen Tacos welcomes homeless, displaced to free celebration on Christmas

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Ephen Tacos welcomes homeless, displaced  to free celebration on Christmas Ridgecrest Addiction Awareness is partnering with Ephen Tacos to provide a free celebration to the homeless and displaced on Christmas Day from 3-6 p.m.

“Everything will be completely free, which is really awesome,” said Deborah Smith, founder of RAA. “Since Ephen Tacos is providing the food, you know it’s going to be great!”

RAA started the tradition of hosting a community holiday gathering for anyone in need, typically held on a day leading up to the holiday itself. “I’ve been wanting to have a Christmas Day event for a long time, but finding the support for that has been difficult.”

This year, RAA was able to bring together the venue, the volunteers and enough donors to make it happen. “I do want to make it clear that even though Ridgecrest Addiction Awareness coordinates everything, it’s really the support of our wonderful community that makes everything happen.”

Individuals and families are invited to dinner, no questions asked. Anyone attending will also receive coats, hygiene kits and (for the children) toys.

She noted that in addition to Ephen Tacos, which is donating all the food, some of the significant contributors to this effort are Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, which made a sizeable donation to help cover the costs of toys and other supplies, and Rotary Club, which helped collect warm coats.

“We don’t want anyone to feel isolated, especially at Christmas,” said Smith. “You never know what issues people are dealing with. And just the state of being homeless is like a mental health issue in itself — it’s a tragedy that makes every aspect of life more difficult.”

Anyone wanting to make a donation can do so by contacting Smith through the RAA Facebook page, or by making a donation to the account at Desert Valleys. “You don’t even have to give your name if you don’t want to,” she said.

“The holidays can be really tough for people. And especially for those who are struggling with addictions, they constrict themselves from their family and friends. It’s a fine line, since you don’t want to enable them, but it’s still important to let them know you care. Let them know you love them, unconditionally, and that you’ll be there for them when they are ready to receive help.”

Smith founded RAA to help meet the needs of local people, who have few local options for support services. Watch future editions of the News Review to find out more about their mission, and how you can help.

Pictured: Youngsters have an opportunity to visit with Santa Claus at last year’s Christmas celebration, coordinated by Ridgecrest Addiction Awareness and hosted at the Ridgecrest Elks Lodge — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2018-12-21