“Christmas with Mercy” program for underprivileged children brings happiness to families

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Provided by House of Mercy

Greeters at House of Mercy event

Greeters at House of Mercy event

Over 400 children from 135 families received Christmas gifts in their homes this year due to the outpouring of grace and care from the northern Virginia community in the annual Christmas with Mercy event. In its fifth year, individuals and community organizations provided hundreds of gifts for the children of qualified families receiving aid from the House of Mercy (HOM).

Volunteers worked over 270 hours (and staff and long-term volunteers an additional 160 hours) in order to present this high-quality, magical day when client parents come to HOM to “shop” for Christmas gifts for their children. “Gifts are a way for people to show their love for each other. So it’s important for our client parents to have the ability to show love for their children by providing gifts. These are presents the parents select based on knowledge of their children’s personalities, which makes the gift giving more special,” said Felice Hilton, Assistant Director of the House of Mercy.

House of Mercy offers thanks to these organizations, in addition to the hundreds of individuals in Manassas, Gainesville, Haymarket, Nokesville, and Fairfax, all whom provided beautiful gifts:

Holy Trinity Parish (Gainesville), All Saints School (Manassas), Our Lady of Hope Parish (Sterling), St. Joseph School (Herndon), Hibernians of St. Mary of Sorrows (Fairfax), Benedictine Sisters of Virginia (Bristow), American Legion (Manassas), Park West Lions Club (Manassas), and Select Business Network (Gainesville).

Children qualify for gifts based on their enrolled parent’s participation in the numerous free classes available at HOM. The classes include Personal Money Management, ESL, Parenting, and faith formation.

According to Feeding America, forty-nine percent of the food insecure living in Prince William County earns too much money at low-paying jobs to be eligible for government assistance. PWL They turn to faith based agencies (like House of Mercy) for supplemental food and assistance.

Additionally, Feeding America’s research brief entitled Food Banks: Hunger’s New Staple ( Food Banks: Hunger’s New Staple – A Report on Visitation Patterns and Characteristics of Food Pantry Clients in the United States, by Feeding America, 2015), finds that “families are not only visiting (food) pantries to meet temporary, acute food needs – instead, for the majority of people seeking food assistance, pantries are now a part of households’ long term strategies to supplement monthly shortfalls in food. Results of these analyses suggest that families no longer visit “emergency food” sources for temporary relief, but rely on food pantries as a supplemental food source. Seniors, who so often are limited by fixed or no incomes, are shown to be among the most consistent pantry clients.”


For more information about House of Mercy’s programs or how to register as a client or to donate financially, email [email protected] or call 703-659-1636.


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