Families experiencing unforeseen hardships should not be overlooked this Christmas season, Redeem Project founder Vicki Bullock said.
Through the Hope for Christmas program, Bullock and co-chairs Brenda and Greg Carrell are seeking donors to help spread the Christmas spirit to families who might fall through the cracks.
"For these families, Christmas is put on the back burner," Bullock said. "The reason I like to help the people that fall between the cracks — they're our donors, The Salvation Army's donors, the Samaritan Center's donors and others in the community. They need us to reach out and help them."
For the past eight years, Bullock and her team have interviewed families referred to them by a friend, doctor or even funeral home. The families they work with are helped only one time through this program, which requires members of the community to lend a helping hand by adopting a family in their time of need.
For example, family 229 consists of a mom and her two daughters. The mom has bone cancer and isn't expected to live much past Christmas. The 15-year-old daughter loves to shop, cook and dance. She could use warm clothes, boots and bedding. The 17-year-old daughter loves to read and is a writer. She could use warm clothing, boots, a journal or other writing aids. Their mom could use warm clothing and tennis shoes, and any kitchen equipment would be appreciated.
Family 284 includes an aunt and three children whose parents were killed in a June automobile accident. The children — two boys, ages 11 and 15, and an 8-year-old girl — now live with their aunt who has no children of her own, so this has been a huge adjustment for everyone.
Hope for Christmas offers other examples on its Facebook page, facebook.com/hopeforchristmasJeffCityMo.
"We try to share that hope that these families can survive this," Bullock said. "They need to know that there are people that care in the community."
Last year, the agency added seniors to the list of people served through this program through a partnership with the Department of Health and Senior Services.
To help donations spread further, anonymous sponsors are helping Hope for Christmas with a double-match program through Nov. 30. This means if someone donates $50, it becomes $100 through the first match, then $100 again through the second match — for a total of $200.
Donors' money will continue to be matched by a single sponsor through Dec. 10.
"For a family that comes to us with these kinds of situations, they don't necessarily need gifts, but they need the reassurance that they are doing what they need to be doing," Bullock said. "Sometimes it is that reassurance, support and encouragement that people with Hope for Christmas give."
To donate or adopt a family, contact Bullock at 573-353-4720 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks should be mailed directly to the organization at Hope for Christmas, P.O. Box 105276, Jefferson City, MO, 65110.