News & Updates
Monday, December 18, 2023

Traditions Bring New Toys, Clothing, and Above All, Hope, to Families in Need

There’s nothing quite like witnessing a child’s face light up with joy on Christmas morning when they receive a gift they weren’t expecting, or hearing the sigh of relief from a mother in need as she opens a gift that makes the holiday season a bit easier for her and her family.

Across Eastern Massachusetts, people and organizations have stepped up to help Catholic Charities clients experience the spirit of giving:

Several parishes — St. Mary’s and St. John’s in Chelmsford, St. Thomas Collaborative in Wilmington, and St. Margarites in Dracut — working with Catholic Charities Merrimack Valley Office Manager Laurie Lee collected 425 gift donations. An additional 75 gifts donated by Central Catholic High School students allowed the Agency to distribute just over 500 presents to Merrimack Valley clients in need.

“Giving back during the holidays fosters connection and empathy, reinforcing the spirit of generosity and gratitude that is central to our mission at Catholic Charities,” said Tyler Griffen, Program Manager of Merrimack Valley’s Family Support Services program. “It not only makes a positive impact on the community but also inspires others to contribute, creating a ripple effect of kindness.”

On December 17, volunteers from the organization ‘Christmas in the City’ made a visit to the Catholic Charities Inn (CCI), bringing gifts, food, activities, and Rapunzel to entertain the children living at the shelter. Christmas festivities will continue throughout the week, with a special visit from Santa Claus and some merry elves (longtime Yawkey Center pantry volunteer Officer Manny Dambreville of the Boston Police Department and his crew of teenage volunteers.)

On Christmas Eve, a large gift donation coordinated by St. Raphael parishoners, Paul and Margaret Chisholm of Medford — who helped promote the parish giving tree, collect gifts from the community, and deliver them to Catholic Charities — will be distributed to children of all ages at CCI.

“It’s just nice to be a part of a parish where people were so invested in bringing joy to people in need,” said Margaret. “If a present can help someone living in a shelter feel some sense that they are valued and cared for how wonderful would that be.”

In Brockton, approximately 150 current clients at Catholic Charities South will visit the site this week to pick up toys and winter apparel at the annual Brockton Toy Drive. And on Christmas Eve, former Mayor Thomas Menino’s family will celebrate the 30-year anniversary of Christmas Eve at the Teen Center, a tradition that began in 1993 as an opportunity to bring smiles and joy to families living in the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood.

“There is nothing better than being able to give a child something meaningful that will allow them to have a happy Christmas,” said Joao DosSantos, Director of Catholic Charities Boston’s Teen Center at St. Peter’s.

Learn more about how you can support Catholic Charities Boston’s clients in need this holiday season and beyond here. Part 8 of our Twelve Days of Giving Series, sharing heartwarming stories about people spreading joy and compassion within our community this holiday season.

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