Dec. 8, 2008
DSS NEEDS SPONSORS TO MAKE CHRISTMAS MERRY FOR LOCAL FAMILIES IN NEED
Charlotte, NC – A deepening economic recession and widespread layoffs have created a difficult holiday season for an unprecedented number of families in the community. The Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) Holiday Sponsorship Program provides a unique opportunity for individuals and companies to deliver holiday cheer directly to the homes of those in need.
Sponsors purchase gifts and ingredients for a holiday meal and deliver them to the homes of families with whom they are matched. Gifts include 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 new age-appropriate toy or gift for each person in the home. Last year, about 1,100 families received Christmas meals and gifts through this program.
DSS 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 once they are matched.
“So far, we have received more than 1,000 applications requesting assistance for Christmas,” said Beverly Hinson, DSS’s Community Resources Office administrator. “With the downturn in the economy, we met our limit on requests for assistance in only 2 ½ days. Right now, about 400 families are still waiting for a sponsor.”
Being able to personally deliver meals and gifts to families is why many individuals and companies participate year after year. "We are delighted to be able to provide food and gifts to more than 250 families this holiday season," said Joy Paige, Wachovia's Community Affairs Manager for the Charlotte Headquarters region. "For the past 10 years, employees and teams throughout Wachovia have enjoyed ‘adopting a family’ in hopes of making the holidays more meaningful for families in our community."
Individuals, companies, groups or families are welcome to participate. Contact us by Wednesday, December 17, to be a 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.