From managing childcare during school breaks to making sure there is enough food on the table, the holidays can be a time of added stress. This year, more than ever, families are making tough choices on expenses like groceries, gas, rent, and other bills.
Enter Volunteers of America Colorado. Throughout the year, VOAC provides essential programs to feed, shelter and support their clients to address the unmet needs within the community. Around the holidays, families’ needs are even greater and VOAC’s support is even more vital. VOAC ensures Coloradans have meals to share and gifts under the tree with Adopt-a-Family, Holiday Dinner Baskets, Meals on Wheels, and Santa Shop. These programs are possible only through the support of this community. Find out how you can make a difference today.
Tawana has been part of the VOAC family for 6 years. Her journey began at the VOAC Bannock Youth and Family Center where she and her daughters received housing assistance and supportive services. VOAC’s Adopt-a-Family program gives families like Tawana’s the chance to celebrate the holidays with personalized gifts for each family member.
“It’s been so helpful. I’m a single mom, even though I’m supposed to get child support, I don’t always receive it so it can be an off and on struggle around the holidays,” said Tawana. “I’m just thankful for the people who take the time out of their day, and have enough love and heart and concern, to adopt a family to make sure our holidays can be great, just as well as theirs.”
Tawana gives back too. During holidays when she had enough to support her own family, Tawana volunteered and even adopted another family in need. “I feel like if I’m blessed, or lucky enough to be adopted at a time when I needed help and then I’m able to do it for someone else, it’s important, because I know how it feels to not have the support,” Tawana said.
The Adopt-a-Family program seeks to connect families in need of assistance with those within the community who desire to make a difference – by purchasing gifts for a family to spread holiday cheer. If you are interested in adopting a family, visit voacolorado.org/holidays.
Holiday Dinner Baskets
Food is critical to the holiday experiences, and we have all seen the price of groceries skyrocket. During the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, Volunteers of America Colorado will distribute more than 3,000 holiday dinner baskets that feed up to six family members each. In partnership with Safeway, VOAC is also giving thousands of $50 gift cards to families statewide to cushion the blow of holiday grocery bills.
April has been a recipient of the holiday dinner baskets and gift cards while her children have attended the VOAC Early Childhood Education Center over the years. For April, this is more than a preschool. It is a community that she can count on for support ranging from additional childcare to weekly pantry boxes during the pandemic, to clothes and diapers. Knowing VOAC has her back means April can focus on what really matters, like enjoying Thanksgiving with her family.
“For Thanksgiving I have everyone over to my house, and I am in charge of cooking the big meal,” said April. “It’s really special to get everyone together. Nowadays it’s hard with all the struggles people have, so when the holidays come around it’s a joyful time.
“The gift card that comes with the holiday basket is so helpful for buying items for special family recipes, or even household necessities, and the holiday basket itself comes with such high-quality food.”
During the Holiday Dinner Basket distribution in December, VOAC opens their Santa Shop. Presents are lined from floor to ceiling for children of families picking up baskets. Not only do the kids receive a nicely wrapped gift, but they also get to meet Santa himself! Anyone interested in donating gifts to Santa Shop can visit VOAC’s Amazon Wishlist. Gifts for teens are especially appreciated.
If you or someone you know is in need of a Thanksgiving Dinner Basket, visit the VOAC Mission at 9 am on November 14th. Vouchers for Thanksgiving Baskets will be given out in person on a first come first serve basis until supplies are exhausted. One voucher is allowed per household and an adult from the household must be present. You must provide an ID and proof of residency (piece of mail) to receive a voucher. VOA Mission is located at 2877 Lawrence St., Denver.