Overwhelming generosity was demonstrated by our Residents and Team Members during our 2016 Annual Holiday Gift Giving Project coordinated by our Community Outreach Committee.
As in past years, our focus included the Lancaster County Children and Youth program and other Lancaster County organizations that provide shelter to children in times of crisis. Our primary goal was to ensure that all children, regardless of their circumstances, enjoyed the warm spirit of the Christmas season. We were able to raise $10,860 and serve 374 children in need as a result of generous gifts and monetary donations from our residents and team members.
On Saturday, December 10, 2016, children and families from Lancaster County Children and Youth gathered at the Cultural Center for breakfast, crafts, entertainment and a visit from Santa. Gifts were distributed to the 177 children who were in attendance. In addition to receiving a gift from Willow Valley Communities, every child received a no-sew fleece blanket from a non-profit organization called Fleece for Keeps. The children’s faces lit up with excitement when they were given a brightly wrapped gift and a warm blanket to snuggle with. We were truly grateful for the more than 60 resident and team member volunteers who came out to help us sort, wrap the gifts, and assist the day of the party.
Just days before Christmas, members of our Outreach Committee delivered special packages to Milagro House, Homeless Student Project and the Domestic Violence Shelter. We were pleased to be able to provide brand new toys and games, as well as new pajamas, hats, gloves, and small educational gifts to help keep the children warm and their minds stimulated.
Additionally, we were able to support 12 families from The Lancaster Homeless Student Project. One mother cried as she received her gifts, citing these were the only gifts her children would receive this holiday. Being able to bring some Christmas joy to these families during a crucial time of the year is an indescribable feeling.
We received an overwhelming response of “THANK YOU” notes from foster families and the organizations we helped. The efforts of every resident and team member involved have truly made a lasting impact in the lives of so many children in our neighboring community.
Thank you to our residents and team members for helping to make this another successful year.
Cori Steiner, Community Outreach Committee Chairperson