Celebrating The Season Of Giving: Making The Season Bright
Posted on December 1st, 2011
It was 64 years ago that the parents who had adopted their children through Catholic Charities Adoption/Maternity Department decided to have a big Christmas Party for their children. But instead of receiving gifts, the children and their parents brought gifts for hundreds of children whose families were struggling in poverty and receiving assistance from Catholic Charities. While the children had great fun and treats at what became an annual celebration, they were learning the art of giving at the “Toy Shower”!
Today, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Catholic parishes, donors and individuals of all faiths throughout Chicagoland, that beautiful, time-honored tradition of giving and receiving continues in Cook County for thousands of children and families as Catholic Charities celebrates our 64th Annual “Celebration of Giving and Toy Shower!” More than 10,000 children will have a “merry and bright” Christmas as they receive presents of toys, games and dolls under their trees. More than 500 low-income families will receive new winter clothing and household goods through our “Sponsor-a-Family” program.
Catholic Charities’ “Toy Shower” in Cook County welcomes all new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children and gifts of clothing in original packaging that will be distributed to children in our 156 programs. This year, we are deeply grateful to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart for their generous donation of 12,000 square feet of available space to serve as Catholic Charities’ “Toy Room” to store and sort these gifts.
The Chicago firefighters and paramedics will hold their 11th Annual Toy Parade on December 3, culminating at the IBEW Hall on West Washington Boulevard. Thanks to the charity of these courageous men and women, the Hall will fill with toys and bicycles to warm the hearts of hundreds of children.
In Lake County, Catholic Charities participates in a community-based “Christmas Giving” program that will provide gifts for 13,000 children. Catholic Charities has never failed to be there for families and individuals in tough economic times, thanks to the great generosity of the people of the Cook and Lake County communities.
A thoughtful and unique program that originated 10 years ago with a group of women in Lake County today provides beautifully wrapped new nightgowns and pajamas to low-income women and men in Catholic Charities senior residences and to moms in need in Cook and Lake Counties.
For our staff and volunteers who organize these programs, and the thousands of generous volunteers and donors who pitch in, this is an extraordinarily joyful and busy time! Everyone is invited to “get involved!” For those who look forward to giving, and for those families who depend on our charity to make Christmas a joyful time for their children, it is a special time indeed.
This Advent and Christmas season, I am deeply grateful to the members of Catholic Charities’ Board of Advisors and Junior Board, and our generous donors; as well as to the numerous Catholic parishes, schools and other institutions who contribute in so many ways! Special thanks are due the local corporations and businesses who generously support us. But above all, we appreciate our energetic legion of volunteers! Together, we make it all happen – and Catholic Charities could not accomplish all these good works in Cook and Lake counties at Christmas and throughout the year without every great-hearted person who cares about his or her neighbor in need.
May God, who sent His only-begotten Son, born of the Virgin Mary, to show us the true meaning and joy of life, bless you and your family for your charity year-round; and may you and your families have a most blessed Advent and a joyous Christmas!