Catholic Charities Community Services is now collecting toys, books, clothing and hygiene products to help struggling families give their children gifts for the holidays.
More than 900 children and youth under the age of 17 will likely benefit from this year’s Emergency Santa program, which has served more than 40,000 people since 1994 when the program began. \
Gifts are offered to qualifying families and those participating in foster care, Westside Head Start, shelter and housing programs through Catholic Charities. Parents may also volunteer in the community in exchange for gifts to give their kids.
“When you see the faces of the families we serve each year through Emergency Santa, you can see firsthand the impact this program has on making their holidays special,” said Malissa Geer, senior director of community engagement and volunteer services for Catholic Charities, said in a prepared statement. “We are deeply grateful for the incredible support we receive from the community, both in terms of donations and volunteer hours.”
New and unwrapped toys or gifts, especially presents for teens, are needed. Ideas include learning toys, puzzles, sport balls, coloring books, art supplies, books for all reading levels, clothing items in all sizes. Donations are accepted in-person at the Catholic Charities Care Campus, located and 466 S. Bellview in Mesa. Gifts can also be purchased through an online wish list, which can be found through Amazon Smile.
Staff and volunteers will then organize the gifts for families to shop socially distanced with COVID-19 safety protocols in December. Appointments can be made by calling 602-650-4860 and are extremely limited. Parents who take advantage of the program are encouraged to volunteer one hour per child to give back to the community.
The CARE Campus has served Mesa as a grassroots, volunteer-run community center since 1996. In addition to Emergency Santa, it also offers tutoring assistance, after-school homework help and job training.
For more information, contact Catholic Charities at 602-285-1999.
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