The holiday season is a time of hope, joy and love for families across the world. For those living on the streets, however, the holiday season can be a difficult time that amplifies the bleak realities of homelessness. With day-to-day survival being the main focus of any parent in that desperate situation, the holidays can become a distant afterthought and the magic of Christmas is lost.
For decades, Father Joe’s Villages has been ensuring that families and children experiencing homelessness enjoy a special Christmas.
Every year, Father Joe’s Villages’ dedicated Ladies Guild members fund gift giving and present wrapping for children living in the organization’s housing programs. On two days in December, parents shop side by side with a Ladies Guild member picking out gifts for their children. This shopping trip allows parents to pick out the perfect presents for their kids and have a hand in creating Christmas magic. After shopping, the Ladies Guild and parents come together to wrap the gifts for Christmas morning.
Father Joe’s Villages Therapeutic Childcare Center also organizes festive activities that provide holiday cheer for children in need. The Therapeutic Childcare Center is a state-licensed childcare facility offering integrated services that address behavioral, developmental, medical and dental needs – all in one location. The center’s dedicated staff create the best possible Christmas for children and families living in their shelter.
Children five and under receive presents from Santa and Mrs. Claus that have been specially picked out for them and funded by Old Town Trolley Tours. School-age children are treated to a Christmas Party at Old Town Trolley’s headquarters, complete with pizza, piñatas, individualized gifts and a private trolley ride across San Diego, an experience that has created Christmas magic for our children for more than 10 years.
Finally, Father Joe’s Villages’ Annual Children’s Christmas Party gifts children living at Father Joe’s Villages a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only do they ride in a limousine to a special party just for them, the ride is also flocked by a motorcade of Harley Davidsons, ridden by the Harley Davidson Club of San Diego. This fun-filled holiday party includes face-painting, food, gifts, dancing and a special appearance from Santa Claus.
“We are constantly looking at how we can make things special for the children each year, just to shine as much light into their lives as possible,” Therapeutic Childcare Director, Jennifer Ryan, who helps put on the event shared with GB Magazine.
The annual holiday celebrations at Father Joe’s Villages give children experiencing homelessness a chance to enjoy a Christmas filled with hope and joy. These festive events would not be possible without the support of dedicated donors and volunteers.
This Christmas, support Father Joe’s Villages’ Family Services by giving a gift that will never be forgotten. A donation of any amount will make a lasting difference in the lives of children experiencing homelessness. Give online at my.neighbor.org or call (619) HOMELESS (466-3537) to bring holiday cheer to a family in need today.