There in a cardboard box were a number of perfectly wrapped gifts. Seated in the hotel banquet room were people with jobs and a group of women who haven't worked in a year handing out the presents.

Not surprisingly, the Sisters Of Support, which formed after its members were laid of from the once venerable High Desert Federal Credit Union, were spreading holiday cheer, offering holiday goodies and extending words of gratitude during a mid-morning party Dec. 14 at the Greentree Inn in Victorville.

"Saturday was one year since we got laid off," said event emcee Debbie Geiger, a co-founder of S.O.S.

Geiger also acknowledged former co-workers Lynda Pasco and Maxine Callaway, who recently formally retired.

"We couldn't give them a cruise as we might have at the credit union," she said, but the group did give smaller gifts of congratulations and support.

Choking back tears, she announced the network was being disbanded, but the group didn't want to go without extending thanks to those people who helped them through a very tough time, she said.

"You have helped us as we have helped others."

Many S.O.S. members were involved in the gift giving, each reading individually tailored words to the gift recipients.

"Each and every one of you has given a big part of yourselves to our lives."