The holidays start early at The Arc of Atlantic County – October, in fact – when our Social Services staff begin their annual appeal for Holiday Partners, a program that matches some of our community’s most caring and compassionate people with our community’s most vulnerable citizens. Holiday Partners invites participants to adopt a family and help fulfill their holiday wish list, or make a donation so The Arc can fulfill their wishes. This year, more than 60 families caring for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at home and struggling to make ends meet signed up for assistance, knowing they would never be able to provide their loved ones with the kind of holidays they wish for.
Our hearts are filled with gratitude as we announce that ALL families who signed up for help will have their wishes fulfilled this Christmas, thanks to an outpouring of generosity from our community!
But a few weeks ago, things did not look so good. With only two weeks until the Holiday Partners deadline, we still had 34 families that needed to be adopted. We put out a plea via social media, the local newspapers, and to our own contacts. And WOW did you heed our call!
On Wednesday morning, children with I/DD and their siblings will wake up to piles of gifts under their Christmas tree containing exactly what they wished for. When parents stopped by The Arc to pick up their gifts, they said without this program, they never would have been able to fulfill their child’s wishes.
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU to each and every individual and organization that contributed to our Holiday Partners appeal this year. The families you’ve helped are faced with challenges each and every day. Many are single-parent households. Some are caring for multiple children with disabilities. Many have large families, many are living in small apartments. For some families, it is the parent who has the intellectual disability. You have given so much more than presents – you’ve given people faith that they are not alone in their struggles, and that their community recognizes and cares about the challenges they face.
Happy holidays, from everyone at The Arc of Atlantic County!