Providing Hope for All This Christmas

Dec 2, 2019

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When Eva, mom of 9-year-old Sebastian and 1-year-old Jayce, learned about The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program she was thrilled. “Oh my goodness, it was like a huge weight was lifted off me,” she said.

That was nine years ago, when Sebastian was a toddler and they’d just discovered he was deaf in both ears. Eva had been ready to go back to work, but taking her son to doctor and therapy appointments suddenly made that impossible. And that made the family’s financial struggle all the worse.

While Sebastian’s hearing has been restored, thanks to corrective surgery when he was three, the family’s financial woes have persisted. Every Christmas, Angel Tree has been a ray of light.

“The holidays would have been really tough without this program,” Eva said. “It’s so nice to have these gifts. The kids are so happy when they see them!”

When Eva shows up at the Norridge Corps Community Center at her appointed time, Salvation Army staff offer to pray with her, then she meets her “personal shopper,” who shows her to the appropriate tables to find gifts for her sons. Before she leaves, she’s given a box full of food to help make her family’s holiday meal special.

“It’s so amazing,” Eva said of the Angel Tree program. “It’s really beautiful to get the opportunity to do this.” While she wishes she could thank donors in person, instead she looks forward to a season when she is able to be the generous one. “I can’t wait until I can give back to them.”

Our Angel Tree program is just one of many ways we help neighbors in need at the holidays, when going without stings all the more and when no parent should have to decide between paying for groceries or buying their kids Christmas gifts.

For those struggling even more at the holidays, The Salvation Army’s Mobile Feeding and Homeless Outreach units bring love and understanding via a hot meal, a beverage and a conversation. The units are often the first contact those who are homeless have with the Army. While food is the calling card, Army staff and volunteers let people who visit the feeding units know that they’re available to help when they’re ready to leave the streets.

“I know firsthand what it’s like to be on the streets,” Warren Peeler said. “I was homeless for several years and finally got clean through The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center.” Now he works on the outreach units convincing others to come in from the cold and receive the help he did. “It’s a hard life,” Peeler said. “But these guys know I’ve been there and that I understand what it’s like. They know when they’re ready, we’re here.”

The mobile feeding program provides approximately 125,000 meals a year to Chicago’s homeless population, including on Christmas. The staff also hand out hygiene kits, and during the colder months, they hand out hats, gloves and other winter wear when its available.

Our Angel Tree, Mobile Feeding, and other assistance programs wouldn’t be possible without our generous donors, who help us Do the Most Good all year round and help ensure that Christmas is merry for everyone.

Together, we can fight homelessness and provide a path to a better life.

Your gifts ensure The Salvation Army has the resources to provide shelter, food, and more to those in need.

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