Giving Tuesday is a week away and we at UMCS are busy preparing for the Holiday season! This time of year is special to many of us and we often spend a lot of time getting ready for the season—from decorating trees, to wrapping presents, preparing meals or writing cards, the holidays are a time for us to connect with people we love, enjoy the blessings of life, and celebrate with others. But for many families, the holiday season can be a time of stress and strain as the costs of daily living make it difficult to provide a special experience for their children & family during this season. Many are struggling to meet their basic needs: housing, food, education, jobs, and adding the holiday extras are sometimes an extravagance that is not possible.
At UMCS, we know that this struggle is a reality for many of our families, and we also know that the opportunities we have to celebrate the good things in life brings a sense of hope, community, and resilience during difficult times, so it is important to us that our families are able to enjoy this holiday season as well. From Thanksgiving& Christmas food boxes that help with holiday meals, a resident Christmas Party where children get the opportunity to make crafts and meet Santa, gift cards that help families purchase gifts for their kids, to connecting residents to as many community resources as possible, UMCS works to make sure that the children & families that we serve can experience joy & hope this season.
One of the ways that we do this is through providing Thanksgiving boxes to those who utilize the food pantry right before thanksgiving. The week before thanksgiving we will see close to 150 families in the food pantry as the need for food increases when there is a major holiday. We will distribute approximately 100 thanksgiving boxes and another 40 regular food pantry boxes as well as our regular Senior stock boxes this week. We’d like to give you a little peek into how this is made possible.
Hunger Task Force provides Thanksgiving boxes through our food pantry contract with them. These boxes are free & local and come with a variety of thanksgiving foods including a turkey. This year we received 30 boxes, and our staff picks them up from a warehouse near the Milwaukee Airport.
In addition to the food from Hunger Task Force, UMCS receives donations from congregations, organizations, and individuals of food as well as funds to purchase food for the remaining boxes. Often times we receive deals from local grocery stores to purchase enough turkeys to cover the remaining boxes.
Once we collect all of the food, volunteers come to UMCS to pre-pack the boxes. Because of the volume of people who come to receive food, boxes are packed and ready to be distributed.
Rev. Tina Itson, Director of Development, says: "The impact of this food is great in our neighborhood. For families who spend 30-50% or more of their income on rent, expenses such as food are a challenge to meet on a normal week or month, and become even greater when you add an event like Thanksgiving or Christmas—important holidays for families to celebrate. Because of the support of churches,organizations, and individuals, the families that we serve don’t have to choose between celebrating Thanksgiving and day-to-day living."
Through the support of an Anonymous donor& the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation, we have received a $10,000 challenge grant to help add 100 new donors on November 27th. For every NEW donor who gives $50 or more, UMCS will receive $100!!
· If you have not yet directly supported UMCS*, consider giving a gift on November 27th by donating online at www.umcs-wi.org/get-involved/donate. Your donation provides affordable housing and other basic needs to families who struggle with poverty, and on this day, your impact is TRIPLED!
· If you are a current donor, we ask you to share the story of UMCS with your friends, family, co-workers, and networks and invite them to consider supporting children & families in Milwaukee. You can share this blog post or donation link with them, or like us on facebook and share the donation link from our facebook page. (We will have a number of posts and stories highlighted on the page throughout the month of November available for you to share.) Don't forget to have them mention your name on the donation page---all current donors who refer a new donor on Giving Tuesday will be invited to a special 'Thank You' event in 2019!
For questions or more information, contact: Tina Itson, Director of Development, firstname.lastname@example.org, 414-344-1818