Chautauqua County Rural Ministry’s Holiday Giving Program under way

As another year closes, Chautauqua County Rural Ministry prepares for its most bittersweet project: the Holiday Giving Program.

This is bittersweet because although smiles will light up the faces of 300 children on Christmas Day, to meet this challenge, CCRM volunteers and staff must come to know the hardships of many working poor families.

Whether these families have fallen on hard times due to company downsizing and layoffs, or because at the end of the month, after the bills are paid, there simply isn’t enough left over, luxuries like Christmas gifts just aren’t a possibility.

That’s where CCRM steps in to help. Over the next few weeks, their offices will be a flurry of activity, as they accept applications from those families in need, shop for toys and food, and ready packages for delivery.

If the services CCRM provided for local families during Thanksgiving are any indication of the requests that are sure to pour in for Christmas, support from the community will be needed more than ever before. The goal of CCRM administrators, staff and volunteers is to give each underprivileged child three gifts to open on Christmas Day. Though a few local churches and business have generously pledged their support, it isn’t enough to meet the needs of this community’s struggling families.

Please consider helping someone less fortunate this holiday season. It could end up being a neighbor or a friend, a family member or a coworker. These people need a “hand up, not a hand out” this year. Contributions will be appreciated not only by CCRM, but by the families whose children won’t have to miss out on Christmas this year. Every child deserves to wake up on Dec. 25 full of wonder and excitement; with enough help, CCRM can make sure that happens.

All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law. Chautauqua County Rural Ministry is a United Way agency. For donation information, call 366-1787.