Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Do-Gooders’ Guide: CHRISTMAS EDITION!

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Santa stopped by last year's Christmas party at Kennedy!
If you ask me (and I know you are), one of the best scenes in Christmas movie history comes at the very end of Scrooged, when Frank Cross (played by Bill Murray) gets positively giddy with goodwill. Through the bizarre circumstances of the film’s plot, Frank’s on live national television, begging all those who are watching from their homes to help make Christmas miracles happen. He says:

“You have to do something, you have to take a chance, you have to get involved. There are people that are having trouble making their miracle happen. There are people who don’t have enough to eat, there are people that are cold. You can go out and say ‘hello’ to these people. You can take an old blanket out of the closet and say, ‘Here.’ You can make them a sandwich and say, ‘Oh, by the way, here!’ I get it now! If you give, then it can happen – then the miracle can happen to you…It can happen every day. You’ve just got to want that feeling.”
Our Angel Tree at the Hickey Center!

Do-Gooders, we know you’re like Frank Cross – we know you want that feeling! Read on for a list of ways you can help all of us at Catholic Charities make miracles happen for our neighbors in need this Christmas holiday.

We have an ongoing need for donations for our Catholic Charities Angel Tree! So many local families have called, asking for help with gifts for their little ones this year – and we want to make sure that every child has a special Christmas surprise. It’s easy to help – pick up a few extra toys, winter clothing items or gift cards while you’re shopping for your loved ones and bring them (unwrapped, please) to the Hickey Center in D.C. Or, if you’d like to adopt a family – or maybe your office, exercise class, child’s classroom would like to adopt a few families – call us at (202) 772-4346.

Our 801 East Men’s Shelter will hold its annual Christmas clothing distribution on December 15 at 4:30 p.m. Volunteers will help pack clothing, distribute it to the men at the shelter and replenish supplies. “It can be fun!” said Paul, Director of our Men’s Shelter Operations. Plus, you’ll be helping people who are homeless stay warm as the temperatures start to dip. If you can help, please contact Selby Spriggs at (202) 561-4014, ext. 102 or Gary Steele at (202) 561-4014, ext. 106. (PS – our New York Avenue’s Men Shelter held a similar clothing drive last month!)
More Christmas fun at our Kennedy Institute

The DC Employment and Adult Education Services, part of our Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, will hold its annual holiday party on December 16 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. In keeping with tradition, all past and present program participants and their families are welcome, so they’ll be expecting a crowd of 50 to 60 people.
Donations: Whether you’re Rachel Ray or a master of pre-prepared food pickup, you can help by donating punch or finger foods such as wings, meatballs, potato salad, and rolls. 
Volunteers: One or two volunteers are needed to help serve food and get clients involved in the festivities.
Contact Chandra Connolly if you can help with donations or are interested in volunteering: chandra.connolly@catholiccharitiesdc.org or (202) 281-2703.

Also at Kennedy Institute, staff at our Kennedy School want to distribute very special gifts to the kids this year: “glamour bags” filled with toiletries and gifts. The kids at Kennedy struggle with intellectual disabilities, and many have other learning differences or physical disabilities as well; staff hopes that the “glamour bags” will make each one of them feel like a star.
Donations needed by December 19: Perfume and cologne, sunglasses, Axe Body Spray, nail polish and makeup, ties, watches, hat/scarf/gloves sets, Bath and Body Works products, and $5 gift cards to McDonalds.
Contact Donilee Goldsmith for more information on how to donate: donilee.goldsmith@catholiccharitiesdc.org .

Sanctuaries for Life (you may remember reading about their life-affirming work here) is holding a Christmas party on December 19 for new and expectant mothers enrolled in the program. Senior Manager Michelle Williams stressed that the lunch will be healthy in nature, since many of the moms are breastfeeding, or still pregnant.
Donations: Staff said they are accepting monetary donations to help defray the cost of lunch – think about having a quick fundraiser at your office or gym to help them out! They also need donations of grocery store gift certificates, diapers and formula to distribute to mothers who are struggling financially to support their families.
Contact Michelle at michelle.williams@catholiccharitiesdc.org if you can help out!

For some of the clients at our Refugee Center, this Christmas is their first in the United States! The Center registers about six new refugees each week – last week, they registered seven refugees in one day! Once registered, refugees have access to a broad range of support, including employment orientation, ESL classes and other Catholic Charities resources. Refugee Center staff will hold a luncheon for refugees on December 21, and they hope to be able to provide all clients with gift bags of food and other personal items.
Donations: Food donations from local restaurants are welcome for the luncheon. Donations of gift cards are also appreciated – these give clients at the Refugee Center the opportunity to purchase food and clothing and household items, as many refugees come to the United States with nothing. Finally, metro cards are always welcome to give to clients, in order that they can have transportation to job interviews and other appointments.
Contact Jeanne Atkinson at Jeanne.atkinson@catholiccharitiesdc.org or (202) 772-4348 if you’d like to contribute.

The halls will be decked at the DC Food Program at our Spanish Catholic Center. Clients who normally receive food from the program will receive a special surprise on December 21 – a full holiday ham, plus a wrapped Christmas present and handmade card! This is all made possible through the support of generous volunteers who donated and wrapped the gifts and made each card. The Spanish Catholic Center has also arranged for flu shots to be available for all clients who qualify. Food Program coordinator Nick Despotidis said there will be plenty of holiday spirit to go around with Christmas music, hats, and more!
Donations: In order to provide a ham to each family who relies on the program for food, the Spanish Catholic Center is seeking donations of ham, or money to purchase them! So please consider helping one of your neighbors in need enjoy a special holiday treat this year.
Volunteers: The food program will need plenty of help to distribute the bags of food, interact with clients, and help spread Christmas cheer.
Contact Nick at nick.despotidis@catholiccharitiesdc.org or (202) 939-2400, ext. 937 if you can pitch in. 

And, of course, your donation to Catholic Charities always helps us to provide basic essentials and services to all those who are most vulnerable in our community.

As you can see from the list, December is a busy month for us here – and we know it’s a busy month for you, too. And while it’s easy to get wrapping-papered up in events and parties, baking and shopping, decorating and caroling, we hope you won’t forget all those people who, like Frank Cross said, need help to make their miracle happen.

Can you be the one to make it happen? 

Thank you, and have a blessed Advent and Christmas!

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