Nov. 7, 2008
DSS SEEKS SPONSORS TO PROVIDE HOLIDAY MEALS AND GIFTS TO LOCAL FAMILIES
Charlotte, NC – A tightening economy and fewer jobs are expected to create a difficult holiday season for more families in our community than in previous years. Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) Community Resources Office (CRO) provides a unique opportunity for citizens to deliver holiday cheer directly to the homes of individuals and families in need.
“So far, we have received more than 800 applications requesting assistance for a Thanksgiving meal,” said Beverly Hinson, Community Resources Office administrator. “With the downturn in the economy, we expect that number to increase significantly this year and the number of sponsors to decline. Right now, 431 families are still waiting for a sponsor. The need is great.”
Sponsors purchase ingredients for a holiday meal and deliver them to the homes of families with whom they are matched. For sponsors donating a Christmas meal, they also are asked to purchase at least one new item of clothing and one age-appropriate book for each child under age 18 living in the home, as well as one age-appropriate new toy or gift for each person in the home.
CRO staff members match the sponsor’s request to the size of the family they want to help utilizing a new, paperless system. The streamlined system matches sponsors quickly – most within 24 hours or, in some cases, instantly. Sponsors will receive information about their family via e-mail or fax the day after they are matched. Last year, 977 families received Thanksgiving meals through this program.
“I continue being a sponsor year after year because when I come to someone’s door with an armful of groceries, I feel like I’m making a direct difference in their lives,” said Tara Harris, chair of the Community Service Committee for the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) of the Mecklenburg County Bar. YLS has sponsored hundreds of meals over the past few years. “It’s extremely rewarding to meet people where their need is, especially at a time when no one should be alone.”
Individuals, companies, groups or families are welcome to participate. Contact us by Nov. 14, to be a Thanksgiving sponsor and by Dec. 12, to be a Christmas sponsor. You may e-mail us at
cropartners@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov or call 704-336-4809 or 704-336-4545 to get more information or to be matched with a family.