Help needed in providing gifts for annual “Christmas with Mercy” program for poor children

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Provided by House of Mercy

Client families at the House of Mercy have a common prayer this Christmas; that they are restored financially. In an effort to assist clients move toward this, House of Mercy is again presenting the “Christmas with Mercy” program.

In its fifth year, individuals and community organizations are invited to provide gifts for the children of qualified families receiving aid from the House of Mercy (HOM). Especially in the wake of Pope Francis’ visit and words, we all long for a better world for those who suffer with the economic reality of poverty.

Staff and volunteers of HOM are planning the gifting program for more than 500 low income children who are eligible to receive free gifts this year. Relying upon the kindness of the community, House of Mercy is anticipating a shortfall of gifts this year.

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

Reuter’s financial reporting agency is projecting a weak Christmas season in 2015, citing people being apprehensive of the fluctuating stock market and fears of the global financial situation. In addition, the escalating military strife around the world is also having a negative impact. “We are really relying on individuals and civic groups to help us provide gifts for almost 300 client families this year,” said Ann Cimini, Executive Director of HOM.

“The economy has had a tremendous negative impact on non-profits,” said Cimini. “Those of us who provide food, clothing and limited financial assistance for families in need have seen a decrease in real and financial donations and an increase in the number of people we serve. 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. They turn to faith based agencies like House of Mercy for supplemental food and assistance.”

“We love to welcome groups and individuals to help with the annual event. We’ll be using SignUp Genius beginning the week of November 16, so people can sign up online for their volunteer assignment and time. Simply search for “House of Mercy”. Volunteer slots start on Tuesday December 8 and end with the event on Saturday December 12 when our client parents come to the gift distribution,” continued Cimini.

Gifts will be accepted at the HOM Donation Center, located at 8162 Flannery Court, Manassas, beginning November 9. Because client children might be receiving only one gift, HOM requests the gifts to be valued at about $20-$25 range.

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

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