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St. John's Outreach helps families in need over the holidays

BY: Rikki Cason | November 24, 2012

St. John’s Outreach in Lockport is working to make sure no one will go without a present this holiday season.

To make that a reality, they are again looking for donations for their annual gift program.

Throughout the holiday season, the Outreach will provide a present to more than 500 families in the area. They have been collecting gifts throughout the year and are in the final push of their collection.

Because several organizations and charities have stopped their holiday gift program, the Outreach has taken on many new referrals and families in need.

This year, to make the gift giving a little more personal, Dimmig said they are doing an ornament tree.

Those interested in donating a present can pick an ornament off trees at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, at the Outreach, 168 Chestnut St. in Lockport or at Allsaints Roman Catholic Parish, 76 Church St. in Lockport.

Basic necessities are also needed, such as socks, slippers, underclothing and pajamas for men, women and children. Hygiene items are also needed.

Outreach Program Coordinator Deborah Dimmig said getting a thing of shampoo for Christmas might not seem like a great gift, but to people who need it, it is.

For children, little toys like balls and puzzles or other stocking suffers are needed. For teen girls, things like curling irons, flat irons, barrettes, hair ties and other hair accessories are always in demand.

Businesses or families are also needed to adopt-a-family for the holidays.

Those wishing to donate presents are asked to drop off items at the Outreach before Dec. 13. Items can be dropped of between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Also for the holiday season the Outreach’s second annual St. Nicholas Night will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13. The event is geared for children under 10 years old.

The program began from the idea that many parents cannot afford to give their children money to go buy gifts for family members when the parents don’t have enough money to buy gifts for their children.

Kids can come to the event with a reasonable amount of people to “shop” for — parents, siblings and/or family — and will be assigned to their own personal shopping elf to help them.

Parents will stay upstairs and enjoy refreshments while their child shops. When they return children will have small Christmas gifts for their family.

The program is designed to help children learn how to give.

“It’s a neat was to give them something,” said Dimmig. “It teaches them something about the spirit of Christmas.”

While kids wait, they can enjoy a treat and listen to the story of St. Nicholas.

There were more than 200 kids that attended last year’s event.

St. John’s Outreach is open to anyone and everyone in the community that has a need. Their programs include the Sister of Helen’s Food Pantry, Diaper Pantry, clothing center and furniture center.

Those interested in volunteering can call 433-5252.

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