Each December Interfaith Social Services distributes a lot more than food to their food pantry clients. For almost two decades Interfaith’s “adopt a family for the holidays” program has connected charitable citizens with local families in need. This year the organization is struggling to provide Christmas gifts for hundreds of local children.
“The South Shore has been hit hard by the recession, we see the results everyday as the number of our food pantry clients continues to grow.” said Interfaith’s Executive Director Rick Doane. “Two years ago we provided Christmas gifts to about 300 kids through this program. This year we expect to assist almost 700.”
“We are in desperate need of more gifts or gift cards” said Cindy Lee an Interfaith volunteer. “I’ve been assembling orders for families each year since this program began, and we’ve never seen anything like this year.” One of the areas where gifts are most needed is for children ages 12-16. “People tend to think of little kids when they donate,” said Lee. “We rarely get gifts for adolescents; they deserve something nice on Christmas morning too.”
“The support we have seen from the community this year has been amazing, but we still need more help” said Doane. “Toy drives have been coming in from many chartable individuals and businesses including the Little Willows Preschool, Blue Hills Reservation, St Joseph’s Church in Quincy, The South Shore Savings Bank and many others. It is incredible to see the spirit of giving that exists here on the South Shore. Frequently Interfaith’s volunteers and staff get emotional as they help donors unload their cars and distribute gifts to clients.”
Interfaith Social Services is one of many organizations helping to provide Christmas for thousands of South Shore families. The Dianne DeVanna Center, DOVE, Quincy Crisis Center, Quincy Community Action Program, Germantown Neighborhood Center, Sacred Heart Church in Weymouth, Braintree Holidays Friends, Randolph Food Pantry, Wellspring in Hull, Weymouth Youth and Family Services, Salvation Army and other groups are all working together to make sure that no family is overlooked this holiday season.
Each month many of these non-profits assemble for a “Hunger Network” meeting facilitated by the Quincy Crisis Center. This meeting has led to the creation of a communication network which is especially useful during the holiday season.
“Almost on a daily basis I communicate with one of my counterparts from the other South Shore human services organizations,” said Bettyanne Lang, Interfaith’s food pantry manager. “The only way that we can meet the current demands that we are all experiencing is by working together.”
If you plan on donating to one of these organizations please call ahead to ask what is most needed.
CONTACT: Rick Doane 617-773-6203
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