October is always busy at REACH between Domestic Violence Awareness Month events and our annual Reach for the Stars gala. We aren’t resting though; we are also looking ahead and are already planning for our annual Holiday Gift Program! Through the support of generous donors, we are able to distribute holiday gifts to approximately 250 families in need each year.
Who Participates in the Holiday Gift Program? REACH donors provide gifts to the survivors who work with REACH and their children. This includes families in our shelter, but the majority of the families are part of our Community Program and are in need of assistance. The REACH donors include individuals, churches, and companies throughout the Metro West Boston area, and together they team up to support approximately 250 families – over 800 individual adults and children – during the holiday season.
How Does the Program Work? REACH invites survivors we work with to provide a list of gift wishes for themselves and for their children. We ask survivors to list about 4 items per person, each item in the $25 range. REACH provides the wish list to a donor, who selects the size of the family or families they wish to support. We make lists available in November, and we need the gifts to be purchased and delivered to REACH between Dec 8-11, in time for a Holiday party that we offer to the families. REACH distributes the gifts to families at the party, which is attended by survivors and their children, and staffed by REACH employees and volunteers.
Why is this program so important? Survivors have acknowledged two primary benefits of this program – the material support, and the emotional boost of knowing that people care. The financial impact of domestic violence can be long-lasting, and this program allows survivors to focus their financial resources on basic needs.
To support REACH’s Holiday Gift Program, click here, select “General Donation” and then under “I want my gift to go towards” select “Holiday Gift Program” from the drop-down menu. We can also always use gift cards to cover any last-minute requests we receive. Places like Target or TJ Maxx/Marshalls are among those most requested and can be mailed to us directly at REACH Attn: Deb Heimel, PO Box 540024 Waltham, MA 02454.
For more information or to sponsor a family’s specific wishes, please contact Deborah Heimel, REACH’s Associate Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.