Christ Child Society helps families with winter clothingWritten by Lori Golaszewski | | email@example.com
For some families, a winter coat for their children is a basic necessity they simply can’t afford. But thanks to the efforts of the Christ Child Society and its Clothe-a-Child program, coats and winter clothing are within reach of those who need them.
Each fall, the volunteer service organization distributes new winter clothing to underserved children referred by the Toledo Head Start preschool program, including coats, hats, mittens, underwear and socks, jeans and other essentials. Clothing will be distributed Nov. 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Mercy Professional Building, 2200 Jefferson Ave.
This year, the organization has expanded its efforts to include partnering with other local agencies in an effort to meet the needs of older children, said Lucy Abu-Absi, president.
“In the past we’ve worked exclusively with Head Start, and this year we’re broadening; we’re going to be providing clothing to age 18, not just preschool clothing,” she said.
“The challenge is to meet the needs efficiently and work with partners in the community so that we get the clothing to the people who need it. That’s why we are branching out to work with more agencies and also becoming smarter ourselves about what the needs are.”
The Christ Child Society, whose mission is to provide for the welfare of children, is a national organization founded in 1887. The group was formed locally in 1990 and has been distributing winter clothing to needy children since 1999.
In addition to the Clothe-a-Child program, Christ Child Society volunteers assemble and deliver more than 800 newborn layettes yearly to area hospitals and agencies serving needy families, said Anne Malone, past president. A layette is a gift package of baby care items such as blankets, clothing, toiletry items and child care information.
Donations for the layettes are collected at the group’s annual Red Wagon Shower, which took place Oct. 14. The group also holds a letter appeal and a celebrity wait night — slated for Feb. 2 — to help fund the layette and Clothe-a-Child programs.
The Christ Child Society also donates about 25 angel layettes to area hospitals for infants who die at birth or are stillborn, said member Kitsie Valiton.
Like the national Christ Child Society, the Toledo chapter also has an educational focus, said Abu-Absi. Members are trained as tutors to help students with reading and math at Rosary Cathedral and Mary Immaculate schools, while funding from the group makes it possible for central city students to attend the Life Lab and Theatre Vision programs at Lourdes College.
Also offered in conjunction with the Catholic Club is “Parenting Today’s Kids,” a 14-week educational and support program geared toward disadvantaged parents that offers information on improving parenting skills, Abu-Absi said.
“We relate directly with parents and provide support, guidance and encouragement. Our parents primarily come from LaPosada [Family Emergency Shelter] and Beach House [Family Shelter], so they’re homeless, highly stressed and they’re struggling.”
Through the group’s various programs, members said that 11,000 volunteer service hours were contributed by the Christ Child Society’s 200-plus members last year.
For more, call (419) 882-1312 or visit www.nationalchristchildsoc.org.