Solana Beach mother-daughter team hosts fourth annual holiday fundraiser

Olivia and Carmen Isaacs do a mother-daughter holiday fundraiser every year.

For the fourth year in a row, Carmen Isaacs and her daughter Olivia have made it their mission to give back to those in need, keeping up their special mom and daughter holiday fundraiser tradition.

This year Carmen and 10-year-old Olivia are collecting gently used clothing for Soles4Soles, a Tennessee organization that turns unwanted shoes and clothing into opportunities, keeping them from going to waste and putting them to use providing relief for those in need, creating jobs and empowering people to break the cycle of poverty.

Over 40 boxes of donations are already stacked in the Isaacs’ Solana Beach garage and they will be collecting clothing through Dec. 18.

“We just want to collect as much as we can,” said Olivia, a fifth grader at Skyline School.

Olivia Isaacs with raffle tickets at their Nov. 17 fundraiser at Crust Pizzeria.

In their fourth year of fundraising, this year the girls decided to step it up to raise more money and hosted a silent auction and raffle at Crust Pizzeria in Lomas Santa Fe Plaza on Nov. 17. Local businesses like Rusty Del Mar, Bird’s Surf Shed, Neiki Boutique, Las Olas and Station Sushi generously donated gift cards and items for the auction and Crust was happy to support their community service effort.

Carmen said she didn’t know what to expect from their first-ever event but she was touched by the response from the community—their goal was to raise $1,000 but they brought in $2,500.

“It feels good to get past a goal,” Olivia said.

The mom and daughter team started their holiday tradition when Olivia was 7 years old.

“In Southern California and Solana Beach, people are so very fortunate and have so much,” Carmen said. “I really wanted her to know it’s not how much you get during the holidays but how important it is to help others and to value what we have. I hope that by us continuing to do these fundraisers each year, Olivia will continue to grow in empathy, compassion and thoughtfulness for others,”

Each year Olivia chooses an organization and then creates a flyer that they take door to door in their neighborhood. They talk to their neighbors along the way, which Carmen said has had the added benefit of improving Olivia’s confidence and communication skills.

“I like to work with my mom because she’s an amazing person,” Olivia said. “And it’s nice to help people.”

The first year, they supported the local nonprofit called Gently Hugged. Founded in San Diego by two nurses, they distribute baby clothing and blankets to low-income, military, immigrant and foster families in need. Years later, the Isaacs still collect for Gently Hugged through the Junebug Resale Shop in Solana Beach and from families at Solana Beach Presbyterian Preschool.

In 2019, they collected shoes for Soles4Souls and Olivia met her goal to collect 500 pairs of donated shoes. Last year Olivia picked Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas. To support the animals at Rancho Coastal, they collected dog food, toys, blankets for the animals at the shelter.

For their fourth annual holiday fundraising, Olivia said it was hard to decide what to pick with so many great nonprofits but she decided she wanted to help Soles4Souls again.

Carmen Isaacs with clothing donations.

She likes that it helps all kids have shoes to wear and gives adults a chance to start their own businesses. At Olivia’s school they learn a lot about caring for the environment and recycling and repurposing, which also goes hand in hand with Soles4Souls’ mission.

According to Soles4Souls, the average person in North America throws away 70 pounds of textiles a year, which amounts to 21 billion pounds of extra waste dumped in landfills every year. Since 2006, Soles4Souls has helped divert 71 million pounds of shoes and clothing from landfills.

In their fourth year of giving back together, Carmen and Olivia are well on their way to again meeting and exceeding their charitable goals.

“It’s very rewarding,” Carmen said. “She has learned that she can make a big difference.”

To schedule a donation pick-up through Dec. 18, call Carmen Isaacs at (760) 505-7955.