Various aid agencies and local governments are continuing their annual efforts to bring gifts, food and good cheer to the less fortunate in the last days of the holiday season.
A Wider Circle, a Bethesda-based antipoverty organization, provided around 170 Thanksgiving dinners for area families and expects to provide 10,000 gifts through its “North Pole” at its warehouse and through family sponsorship programs.
“We will take gifts and gift cards through Friday,” said Mark Bergel, founder of A Wider Circle. “Adults and older kids sometimes don’t get as many gifts, so gift cards to stores like Best Buy and Target work well for them, or even Giant or Safeway for the parents. Montgomery County residents are helping their community in a beautiful way. It’s so rewarding to know that families who ordinarily don’t get a lot of uplift will experience a bit of abundance. My hope is that all of the families and individuals who have help during the holidays will find ways to stay involved after the season.”
Information on how to contribute to A Wider Circle is available at the organization’s website, awidercircle.org.
The Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH) collects gifts, clothing and food for their clients in temporary and permanent housing.
“We had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at our men’s shelter, and sponsored dinners for many other families,” said Debbie Ezrin, director of development and communication for MCCH. “There’s been a broad range of support for
all of our activities.”
Ezrin said that MCCH had received over 1,000 individual gifts, with an estimated value of $25,000 thus far in the drive.
“Amazon is the way to go as far as getting gifts to us quickly,” Ezrin said. “The most rewarding part of our holiday drive is seeing the joy of both givers and recipients when someone gets exactly what they want. We had someone recently ask for a 4XL sweater, a very hard size to find. When he received it, it was clear that the person who had purchased it had put a great deal of thought and care into getting a nice sweater for him. I really appreciate how the community joins together to support the spirit of giving during the holidays.”
Information about financial contributions and specific gift requests maybe found at www.mcch.net
For 45 years, the City of Rockville has held an annual holiday drive to collect food and toys for underprivileged city residents. According to Sarah Dickinson, community services program analyst for Rockville’s Department of Recreation and Parks, 500 Rockville households received a Thanksgiving gift basket or grocery card, while 103 seniors received Thanksgiving dinner. On Dec. 15, over 2,000 toys were collected at the annual Toy Shop, an event in which volunteers help referred families select and donate toys.
“Distribution is still ongoing for teens and seniors,” Dickinson said. “Donors may help by contributing $20 gift cards to Giant and Target and unwrapped books for teens. We are so appreciative for the continued generosity of our
community, without which this drive would never have been possible for the past four decades.”
Donations of gifts and food may be delivered to Rockville City Hall. Financial contributions may be made at www.rockvillemd.gov/holidaydrive.