It’s may be the most wonderful time of the year, but to those in need the holidays can feel like a heavy burden.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet has tried to offer holiday hope for the past 15 years through their Gift of Christmas program.
Individuals that participate live on a very low income and the program began as a way to offer something extra at Christmas.
Donations can provide gifts for children, housing assistance or help with a special holiday meal.
The seven-county Joliet Diocese includes DuPage, Kendall and Will counties and runs south along the state line into central Illinois.
Maggie Snow, diocesan public relations and communications coordinator, said that for many families the Gift of Christmas is the only way that they may be able to offer presents for their kids.
“The program gives parents an opportunity to shop for Christmas presents for their children… something that many of us take for granted,” Snow said.
Catholic Charities case managers nominate clients that they feel would benefit. This year, they’ve nominated 68 individuals and families.
The Gift of Christmas webpage (www.catholiccharitiesjoliet.org/gift-of-christmas/) offers individual stories of their 2018 clients and how to donate.
They range from Sonya, a single mom raising five children who survived an abusive relationship, to Art, a 67-year-old Vietnam war veteran diagnosed with prostate cancer, simply hoping for warm pajamas, house shoes and a coat.
There is no shortage of individuals and families who could use a helping hand, no matter how small.
According to Snow, clients are grateful for the program and all of the donations they receive. Occasionally, a client or family may be on their list from one year to the next.
“We receive the most wonderful thank you notes each year. It truly makes a difference in the lives of the participants,” Snow said.
Gift of Christmas program donations can be made throughout the year. But to best reach clients for Christmas, donations should arrived by Dec. 15. Gifts will ideally be donated to clients about one week before Christmas.
Catholic Charities offer many other donation and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. To stay up-to-date on the Catholic Charities
current needs and opportunities, like them on Facebook.