2017 Help support struggling families through Give A Christmas

By Chris Ruvo Correspondent:

Just for a moment, take a few steps in their shoes:

You’re the single mother of a little girl battling cancer — and you have recently lost your job. Income was light to begin with. But now, scraped to the financial bone, you’ve fallen far behind on your bills. You want to provide a Christmas, but there is barely money for necessities, let alone gifts.

Or, maybe, you’re the mother of a pre-teen girl — a beloved daughter who suddenly goes into heart failure and requires a transplant. Miraculously, your daughter receives a successful operation. But now, as a devoted mom, you can’t work anymore, for your full-time job has become caring for your daughter, taking her to doctor appointment after appointment, laboring to ensure she’ll be OK. As a result, the household budget atrophies and withers. Christmas looms. Where will the money come from?

Such stories kindle compassion in even the hardest hearts. Sadly, they’re not the fictional foundation for plot lines of holiday movies where all problems magically disappear just before the credits roll.

They’re the real stories, of real people, living in The Intelligencer’s circulation area. Around the holidays they need a bit of help — help The Intelligencer and the Bucks County Opportunity Council strive to deliver through Give A Christmas.

Now in its 30th year, Give A Christmas is an altruistic campaign that raises money to support less fortunate families in Central and Upper Bucks County, as well as Eastern Montgomery County and the North Penn and Indian Valley communities.

Only possible through the generous donations of people in the community, Give A Christmas helps locals struggling with poverty do everything from buy gifts and groceries, to aid with rent payments, medical bills and utility needs.

So far this year, Intelligencer readers have been doing their bit to support the cause. Through the first handful of December days, reader donations empowered the Bucks County Opportunity Council to lend a hand to 555 people — 310 children and 245 adults. That translates to $14,025 in financial assistance.

“Our staff has been working hard welcoming all that come requesting assistance for the holidays,” said Tammy B. Schoonover, director of community services at the Bucks County Opportunity Council.

While Give A Christmas was off to a strong start, Schoonover and others on the front line of the campaign encouraged community members to open their hearts and their wallets to donate to help neighbors in need during the final stretch before Christmas.

Contributors can feel certain the money goes directly to support people experiencing economic hardship. The Opportunity Council assiduously administers the Give A Christmas Fund, 10 percent of the proceeds from which are shared with the Souderton-based Keystone Opportunity Center. Complementing each other, the two community action agencies work on behalf of Give A Christmas to identify individuals and families who truly need financial assistance during the holidays.

In 2016, caring members of local communities donated $126,594.64 to Give A Christmas. Since the late 1980s, generous area residents have given nearly $2.8 million — a tally organizers are keen to add to substantially this year.

Help make that goal a reality. Help those neighbors, those loving moms with sick daughters, experience a little of the light of Christmas with their families this holiday season.

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