The holidays are an important and busy time at The Night Ministry. Every year, staff, clients, donors, and volunteers join in seasonal traditions of giving and celebrations that elicit joy, provide comfort, and strengthen connections.
"The fact that we're able to do this for people means something," said Stephanie Cascio, Resource Coordinator at The Night Ministry. "Maybe life is hard for them, or they don't have a ton of things to look forward to, so the holidays become a special time of year."
Some traditions stretch back decades, like gifting holiday stockings to individuals served by The Night Ministry, which are filled with essentials such as socks, gloves, tissues, and deodorant. Others are newer and more program specific, such as providing backpacks to those the Street Medicine Team assists, individuals living in encampments across the city.
Each year, The Night Ministry receives donations of holiday gifts, carefully selected to suit the needs of clients. For example, children who come with their families to the Health Outreach Bus, which serves communities with high rates of homelessness and poverty, receive presents based on their age group. There are even gifts for Spanish-speaking children, such as Spanish language versions of popular kids' books.
Young parents who are served by the agency's Youth Programs can even make special requests for the presents their children would like.
"When we give our clients gifts that are thoughtfully chosen, we express our values of treating people respectfully and meeting them where they are," Cascio explained.
In addition to donating gifts, friends of The Night Ministry play a vital role in the holiday celebrations too. This year, volunteers will help out at the special celebrations held at agency's Youth Programs and at Health Outreach Bus stops. During celebrations at the Bus, for example, they will assist in passing out stockings and gifts and serving special meals.
For more information about how you can support The Night Ministry's holiday celebrations, visit www.thenightministry.org/holiday-celebrations.
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