One Juneau area mother isn't asking for much this Christmas. When she filled out a wish list of gifts for her family to be provided by a St. Vincent de Paul Society sponsor group, she listed only "a happy day" next to her name.
St. Vincent's and the Glory Hole want to provide happy days, including gifts and food, to low-income people this holiday season. The local charities, which provide emergency housing and food to Juneau's needy year-round, are offering expanded services this month.
St. Vincent's is providing Christmas food baskets and organizing a family holiday sponsorship program to those in need. Anyone who comes into the office and fills out an application is eligible to have their family sponsored, said David Sabow, the St. Vincent aid administrator coordinating the sponsorship program.
Sabow tries to find an individual or group to provide for the family's Christmas needs and wants.
"What we're really trying to focus on is getting agencies, organizations or clubs and groups to sponsor a family," Sabow said. "It's much more economical for an individual to give $5 or so than to sponsor an entire family."
Sponsors can choose the size of the family they would like to help, based on the amount of time and money they can contribute.
"We've had groups of families, state offices, churches, groups of friends, and even the high school student council sponsor families," Sabow said. He is still in need of sponsors, however. Last year, 56 needy families were not sponsored.
St. Vincent's also is preparing food boxes for Christmas, which hold a fully prepared Christmas meal. The application deadline is noon Thursday and food boxes will be ready for pick up Dec. 20 and 21. Donations of food and money for this service are welcome.
The Glory Hole will provide food boxes this year as well, to be given out Dec. 21, 22 and 23. The boxes, which do not need to be pre-ordered by recipients, will consist of a full meal to be prepared at home. They will include turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy makings, pies or the recipes and ingredients for them, and many other goods, according to Joan Decker, executive director of the shelter.
"There's no actual requirements besides the person feeling that they need it," she said.
Decker expects around 200 families to receive baskets.
"These are families that are living somewhere where they can barely afford the rent and they can't buy the food ... so they eat with us on a regular basis," she said. "This way they can cook in their own homes."
The Glory Hole also will host a Christmas party from 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 23, a Christmas meal at 6 p.m. Dec. 25 and a New Year's Eve party from 7 p.m. to midnight Dec. 31. It is seeking donations of gifts to be given out at the Christmas party. Clothing and cold-weather gear for men and women of all ages is in particularly high demand. Volunteers are needed to help wrap the gifts from 1 to 4 p.m. the week of Dec. 17.
For more information about volunteering, donating money or benefiting from these services, contact David at the St. Vincent de Paul Society, 789-5535, ext. 14, or Joan at the Glory Hole, 586-4159.
Christine Schmid can be reached at email@example.com.