02 Jan 2016 Holiday Gift Giving Initiative
Pat Landy, Holiday Gifts Coordinator shares her experience of the 2016 Christmas season.
Under the guidance of Program Director Karie Stearns and the mentorship of Alison Dildine, former coordinator of the Holiday Initiative for The Sophia Way for many years, I accepted the position of this year’s Holiday Initiative Coordinator.
We set a goal to provide woman at the Day Center, Night Shelter, Holly House, Winter Shelter and those in independent housing with gift items and a gift card. With limited space at our office and shelters, into my home came boxes and boxes of items donated by so many individual donors, companies, and organizations. It was astounding! What began as a spreadsheet documented donor list from years past and a “to do” list of discrete tasks, by early November my job as coordinator turned into a commitment to the 125+ clients of The Sophia Way to brighten a day, comfort a soul, warm a body, and share the compassionate, selfless joy of giving demonstrated by all our donors.
What began as a spreadsheet documented donor list from years past and a “to do” list of discrete tasks, by early November my job as coordinator turned into a commitment to the 125+ women of The Sophia Way to brighten their day, comfort a soul, warm a body, and share the compassionate, selfless joy of giving demonstrated by all our donors.
Over a short period of about six weeks, donors from previous years and new donors brought, for example, emergency first aid packets, care packages and toiletries of all sorts, handknit scarves and hats, oodles of socks and gloves, and hand warmers a plenty. Donations of items that may be termed luxuries – cosmetics, jewelry and decorative mug sets – arrived, too. And so many gift cards arrived from all over that each client received a $25 gift card to purchase a particular item of need, food for a meal or a cup of coffee and rest for a couple of hours.
With the help of volunteers and members of the Eastside Assistance League, numerous items were placed in reusable, decorative grocery bags and delivered to our independent housing clients by a group of men from St. Madeleine Sophie Church who have been our delivery “elves” for a number of years. Boxes of items were delivered to our shelter clients so that they could select gifts that they needed and desired.
It was truly a privilege to take on the job as volunteer coordinator of the Holiday Initiative. I met so many wonderful people this year and I already look forward to working with them again next year – people who have supported The Sophia Way over the years in so many ways and people who are new to the organization and who we hope will become partners in ending homelessness.
Together donors and volunteers and staff comprised a team of compassionate giving people that brought joy to so many this holiday season.
My sincere thanks to you all and heartfelt wishes for a very Happy and Healthy New Year!