CEDAR CITY — A program working to ensure a merry Christmas for families in need is calling on the Southern Utah community for help.
The Iron County Holiday Assistance program is gearing up for the 2018 holiday season and is currently accepting donations. Monetary donations can be made online, and individuals over 18 can also sign up to help with gift distribution Tuesday through Saturday this week.
The holiday assistance program provides gifts for more than 1,200 children and meals for close to 500 families and senior citizens. The program also serves as a central coordinating organization, working with other local assistance organizations, like “Toys for Tots” and “Shop With a Cop,” to ensure local resources can be distributed further.
“The generosity of both the program and the people made me feel hope I hadn’t felt in a long time,” an anonymous holiday assistance recipient said in a press release issued by SUU. “For some people the holidays are tough, stressful, and lonely. The warmth and love I received was truly a Christmas miracle.”
The holiday assistance program relies on the generous donations of individuals, families and businesses to help everyone in Iron County have a merry Christmas. The program has put up more than 30 “Angel Trees” around the county. Each tree has tags that list gift donations that are needed and instructions on how to donate.
In the past, the Utah Food Bank has supplied nearly 400 turkeys to provide holiday meals for families and seniors in need. However, the food bank is no longer able to provide these, so there is a critical need for more donations of frozen turkeys and hams. Turkeys and hams can be dropped off at the Iron County Care and Share.
Donations of new, unwrapped toys, clothing and stocking-stuffers for children age 0-17 are also needed, as well as new and gently used coats. Gift items can be can be dropped off at the SUU Community Engagement Center, 417 W. 200 South, Cedar City.
“Thanks to this program, I was excited about Christmas again for the first time in years,” the anonymous holiday assistance recipient said. “It changed from one of the darkest times of my life, to one of the brightest. I will never forget that Christmas or the smile on my children’s faces when they got to open their presents. It was the most precious gift I have ever received.”