Family tradition aids less-fortunate

Family tradition aids less-fortunate

The Muschek family of Scripps Ranch is in its fifth year of a selfless tradition that involves collecting items and packing them up for distribution to the less fortunate each year around the holiday season.

This year, Victoria Muschek is asking those wishing to help to collect toiletries such as soaps, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Smaller items, such as those provided in hotel rooms, are best. Chile Peppers restaurant has agreed to serve as the collection point for the items this year. Simply drop off the donated toiletries in the big box at Chile Peppers, 10299 Scripps Trail, now through Dec. 18.

Those benefitting this year will be students attending the Monarch School in downtown San Diego. The school is specifically run to serve homeless youth of the city, and the youngsters will be able to utilize the items following the holidays. That’s usually when supplies for the children are not as plentiful, Muschek explained.

The project normally gets underway right after Thanksgiving, Muschek said. Last year, the effort brought in 445 such kits for the homeless. Jerabek Elementary School adopted the project the last two years, and provided help with the sorting and packaging. This year the school is involved in a different project and the Muschek family is working mostly on its own. Therefore, Muschek has opened up the project to the entire Scripps Ranch community, feeling confident that a large amount of involvement would ensue. She has been active on social media publicizing the effort this fall.

Once the last of the donated toiletries have been collected, they will be sorted and placed in paper bags for delivery.

The Muschek family includes two children who attend Scripps Ranch High School and one who attends Jerabek Elementary.

“It kind of started out as, ‘Hey, we need to give back,’” Muschek explained.

As people heard about the project, they realized they had items they could donate, so they helped out, and the effort grew.

“People have been really coming to the table with some great generosity,” she said. “I am really so touched by the outpouring of support.”

Local businesses have also donated in the past, including Scripps Rock Dental and Chile Peppers.

Muschek, who works as a marketing and communications specialist for Sharp Health Plan, said her company is assisting with collecting items and employees will be allowed a few hours to help bag up the items once they are collected.

Muschek opens her garage for a few nights so volunteers can come over to help sort and pack the kits.

“Usually we have a night or two when we sort everything,” she said.

Children normally volunteer and many of them create uplifting messages to slip into the bags for the recipients. Local Boy Scouts have also helped with the effort in past years.

Those wishing to help, or with large donations or questions, may contact Victoria Muschek at

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