Holiday generosity abounds: LCSNW Portland, Tri-Cities teams use different models
Families around the Pacific Northwest are finding the holidays much brighter thanks to several LCSNW programs.
This year, we spotlight how our teams are helping spread cheer in two communities, using two different approaches.
In the Portland area, 52 families from LCSNW refugee resettlement programs submitted wish lists. Donors then went shopping for them through the Holiday Adopt-a-Family program.
“In many cases, the families may be new arrivals to our country and others are just getting on their feet,” said Magdelawit Tesfaye, program coordinator. “Some have very large families and without this help, might not have much of a Christmas, even with both parents working.”
Magdelawit says there is broad community interest in supporting these families. “Individuals, churches, groups of employees from companies – they are very generous to our families. I feel like people really look forward to this program and bringing Christmas cheer to our families.”
The program hits crunch week in the week before Christmas as all those gift deliveries come in and are delivered to families by case managers.
In the Tri-Cities, the program uses a different approach. Last year it changed from an adopt-a-family model to one where parents “shop” directly from an array of community donations and choose which items their children receive. This year, 140 families are being served at Holiday Lane.
“We’ve gotten a great response from parents,” said Chelsea Klicker, communications specialist. “I think they feel very empowered to choose items for their kids. It gives them the autonomy and lets them know the joy and happiness of giving gifts to their family.”
The week before Christmas is when all the parents come shopping and it’s busy here. Every inch of space is used and new families arrive every ten minutes. One conference room is for teen stuff, another toys, coats and bikes. scooters and skateboards are outside. It’s crazy but also a lot of fun.”
Holiday Lane also depends deeply on community support from radio stations, church groups, businesses, individuals and others. The Tri-Cities Diversity and Inclusion Council had the unique role of fulfilling wishes for teen boys, which can be a harder group to serve.
“We’re so grateful for how our community steps up for our families,” Chelsea said.