The Social Justice and Service Committee would like to send out a huge Thank You to all the Old St. Mary’s parishioners, and school families, who donated so generously to this year’s Christmas Giving Tree. Although we were not able to see the smiling faces of the gift recipients this year, we know they are grateful.
We collected over 200 coats and jackets to keep people warm. These were distributed through God’s Closet, Bowen High School and Juan Diego Immigration Center which is a grassroots community-based organization that operates many vital programs focused on health care issues, community organizing, social services, and family education.
We also received over $2,000 in gift cards, and nearly $4,000 in cash donations, which was a tremendous response.
With your generous donations we were able to support 17 families from our neighbor, St. James Parish. That is over 50 children whose parents will now be able to buy them Christmas gifts. We were also able to sponsor a Christmas party for the residents of Envision, an organization that for over 70 year that has served people with disabilities across all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.
With the creative help of Old St. Mary’s School students, we decorated bags for the gift cards. Their artistic contribution made our gifts a little more festive for those at the following organizations: Zacchaeus House, a not-for-profit, non-treatment home for men, providing a safe, supportive and spiritual home to those in transition; Our Lady of Sorrows, a Catholic parish on the west side of Chicago whose outreach program has been feeding and clothing the homeless and poor of the community since the great depression; and Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly, an organization which has been dedicated to relieving isolation and loneliness among Chicago’s elders since 1959.
Finally, we were able to donate 25 duffel bags and much needed clothing to Kolbe House, to support their mission of helping those leaving the prison system to get a fresh start.