Monday, January 3, 2011

Recapping a Very Merry Christmas

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Christmas is a busy season here at Catholic Charities, precisely because we have the amazing opportunity to share in the Christmas spirit with our clients across the region.  Thanks to the help of volunteers and staff from all over, many wonderful stories were able to happen!

Here are just a few holiday highlights from our programs over the past few weeks:

  • Catholic Charities employees provided Christmas gifts to more than 80 kids through our Angel Tree. Special thanks to Catholic Charities Foundation Board Member Julia Hopping for her beautifully wrapped gifts that ensured everyone on the tree received something for Christmas!
  • At the Refugee Center, volunteer Carol Tavris coordinated the annual Christmas party for our clients – including tons and tons of food – plus mouthwatering roast turkey! She also organized the “Winter Wear Sale” – a warm clothing giveaway for refugees in the program.
  • The Southeast Family Center had a rough year when our building was both vandalized and burglarized. However, when we were able to distribute 292 gifts from staff at Georgetown University Hospital to dozens of families, we were back in the spirit!
  • Kids and mothers who are homeless or fleeing domestic violence at our Angel’s Watch Shelter in Southern Maryland were treated to a thrilling visit by Santa and a bunch of awesome Harley Davidson motorcycles, toting gifts from the Harley Davidson showroom in Hughsville.
  • For the second year in a row, Gifts Inkind donated an overwhelming amount of warm clothing items—enough to ensure that every man staying at our New York Avenue Men’s Shelter (which houses 360 men each night) received many items in their size with plenty left over to use throughout the winter.
  • The Southern Maryland Food Bank received $20,000 in donations and over 12,000 pounds of food from more than 20 schools in St. Mary’s and Charles Counties participating in the annual “Kids Helping Kids” program. Also, a big thank you to the additional 25 local businesses that held food drives to help ensure that not one family goes hungry this Christmas.
  • Parish Partners received gifts through a number of our parishes in Montgomery County and distributed presents to families in time for Christmas.  Employees at the Carlyle Group adopted several families and more than 20 kids for the holidays.
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown provided gifts to Catholic Charities’ Tenants Empowerment Network this year – a transitional program for homeless families. 
  • Gallup hosted a Christmas party, complete with a visit from Santa, at our Kennedy School, which works with children with developmental disabilities. 
  • Incredibly loving church and family groups cooked dinner at all of our emergency shelters on Christmas Day. Thank you for the love you have shown to bring a home-cooked meal into our house.
  • At our Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter, Sister 4 Sister donated nearly 40 warm jackets to our ladies – we are looking good!
  • The Teen Parent and Independent Living Programs received more than $3000 in gifts and donations from local organizations, including the Howard University Comptroller's Office, Catholic University Law School and Beltsville Elementary School.
  • St. Andrew Kim Korean Catholic Church in Olney, Md., headed up a clothing drive at local dry cleaning stores, donating like-new items to the Hermano Pedro Day Program. Hermano Pedro also received from the church new hats, scarves and other winter apparel for 150 clients. Plus, any clients starting new jobs got warm sleeping bags, new pants and shirts.