Finding the Meaning of Christmas in the Midst of Struggles
What does Christmas means to you? To most people Christmas is freshly fallen snow, twinkling lights, special edition coffee cups, family gatherings and gift exchanges. The word Christmas tends to evoke smiles and happy memories.
But for families struggling just to make ends meet, the mere thought of Christmas can add extra anxiety to an already stressful situation. When Christmas rolls around, families who already live without just so they can put food on the table, or choose to pay rent over prescriptions, are often faced with the reality that they cannot provide a special meal, a warm coat or toys for their children. But The Salvation Army has programs in place so families don’t have to make that decision.
The Army’s Christmas Assistance programs – Angel Tree, Coat Drives and Christmas Food Baskets – help make Christmas bright for more than 23,000 families throughout Chicagoland. Families like Alana Locallo of Chicago.
Locallo, and her two children – Vince and Amber – are living with Locallo’s mother in a quiet Chicago neighborhood. Locallo just completed her Certified Nursing Assistant courses and is looking for employment so she can better care for her family. But in the meantime, she is grateful Pamela Church-Pryor from The Salvation Army Norridge Citadel Corps Community Center is there to help.
“When there’s a problem, Pamela is there to fix it,” Locallo said. “She takes on your problems. And during a stressful time, that’s what you need.”
The Salvation Army has helped Locallo identify employment opportunities, given her addition skills and support through parenting classes, and got her registered for the Christmas Assistance program. Locallo and her family will get a full Christmas dinner box with a turkey or chicken, potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, dessert and more. Her kids will get toys and clothing.
Amber said that Christmas to her is all about her family, but she also admits it’s nice to have gifts to open on Christmas morning. “It is so special that people who don’t even know us go out of their way to make sure we have presents on Christmas,” she said. “They don’t have to, but they make sure we’re happy. And I appreciate it.”
Join The Salvation Army's Fight for Good during the Christmas season! Learn more how you can help brighten the holidays for a neighbor in need!