Together We Cope and its Adopt a Child program hopes to create Christmas smiles for nearly 1,800 local children this holiday season.
Instead of empty stockings, these children will be able to unwrap gifts given to them by strangers who care.
In these ongoing difficult economic times, Together We Cope turns to the communities it serves and asks for help. In turn they help individuals and families in need in four townships: Bremen, Orland, Palos and Worth.
The communities they serve include Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park and 24 other nearby towns.
When it comes to the annual gift drive the sponsors have been generous, according to Margaret Seltzner, communications manager at Together We Cope.
The Adopt a Child program brings together children who might face a bleak, unhappy Christmas, and asks those who can to sponsor those children. Volunteers buy toys, clothes and pajamas for each child. Each unwrapped gift is brought to Together We Cope’s headquarters in Tinley Park.
Some 1,800 children were identified as in need by Together We Cope from this year’s client list. 1,300 children have been “adopted.”
Since deliveries to families in need will begin next week, the time to adopt is over. There is still time to donate gifts to Together We Cope however. Donors can find out what is needed by calling 708-633-5040. More information can also be found on their web site.
In addition to help for the little ones, donations are sought for teens in need. Suggested items include: Axe personal care products, wallets, scarves, makeup kits, jewelry and CDs. Also, iTunes gift cards are very popular with teens, as are gift cards for fast food restaurants.
“We do appreciate donations from the community,” Seltzer said.
It’s not just individuals who adopt the children, said Seltzer, but organizations, such as churches, schools and corporations. One corporation adopted 100 of Together We Cope’s children. Another school lets its students come to school in pajamas if they donate one pair of new pajamas to the Adopt a Child program.
“What I like is that this program is totally supported by communities. Everything given to the 1,800 children is given by generous people in the communities,” Seltzer said.
Volunteers also use their skills to help the kids. Seltzer says one woman knitted 50 scarves, just because she wanted to do something. A group of ladies also gets together in the summer to start knitting baby afghans.
“People do lots of creative things here to be part of the program,” Seltzer said.
The number of children served by Together We Cope has increased this year, up from last year’s total of 1,300 children. The 1,800 children receiving Christmas gifts this year are not the same children who received gifts last year.
“Even though the recession is over, unemployment is still high, especially in the southern suburbs,” Seltzer explained.