October is coming to a close and we are busy here at REACH planning for the Holiday Gift Program! Through the support of generous donors, we are able to distribute holiday gifts to approximately 250 families in need each year.
What is this program?
Through donors, REACH’s Holiday Gift Program provides gifts for approximately 250 families who are working with REACH and are struggling financially as they deal with the effects of domestic violence. This includes families in our shelter, but most of the families who participate are part of our community program. We invite people to participate who are actively working with REACH and in need of financial assistance. We provide the survivor with a “Wish List” to list specific items that they would like to receive as well as gifts for their children. They include information about their child’s favorite color and other preferences to give the donor a better idea of which gifts they would most enjoy.
Why is this program so important?
Survivors have acknowledged two primary benefits to 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 continue to focus their financial resources on basic needs.
For some parents, receiving gifts such as new bedding or clothing can have a positive impact on their self-esteem and allow them to feel cared for when so much of their time and energy is spent caring for others. Holiday gifts may seem like an extravagance, but being able to provide presents for their children during the holidays can positively impact family dynamics and wellbeing during a time that is often challenging for families who have experienced domestic violence. Receiving the presents that they wished for can make the children feel special during the holiday season, and lets them feel like their peers who may not have witnessed or experienced violence in their home. All children and parents deserve to have a wonderful holiday and your support helps make that happen for these families.
“Please note that even though we are strangers, you made a big difference in our life this holiday season. It is not just the material items; it was the fact that you have also given us hope and belief. For my son, it was that Santa is real, and for me, it was that there are still great people in the world. You were our Santa that fulfilled our dreams for that day, and we will never forget it.”
– Community participant, mother of one
What is expected of me?
We ask sponsors to fill about 4 wishes per person with each gift costing about $25 each or $100 per person. You can choose to sponsor an entire family or as many gifts or people as you would like. We ask that gifts remain unwrapped but we appreciate separate donations of wrapping paper and tape to be given to the family as well. Gifts will be collected in Waltham in mid-December. We also can do gift pick up during that time.
What do I do next?
Contact Jean Doliber at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lizzy Dugan at email@example.com and let them know how many families, people, or gifts you would like to sponsor.