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updated: 12/4/2013 11:51 AM

Season of Giving underway at local charity

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  • Gifts wrapped and ready for needy seniors

    Gifts wrapped and ready for needy seniors
    Humanitarian Service Project

Patrick McGarry

To benefit its annual Christmas Offering, the Humanitarian Service Project (HSP) of DuPage County is asking members of the community to donate new toys, non-perishable items, and paper products. Since opening their doors in 1979, HSP has been putting presents underneath the Christmas Trees of needy children through this holiday program. Last year, 1,636 children and 121 senior citizens were served by the Christmas Offering, and this year HSP has already committed to providing Christmas to close to 1,600 children and 123 seniors. Additionally, the Carol Stream-based charity anticipates receiving requests from many more needy families to be added to the waiting list. Furthermore, over 25 tons of food will be distributed to the 123 seniors and 150 impoverished families. Along with the help of generous contributions from members of the community, HSP is excited to be providing these services to needy children and seniors once again.

Marking the 35th anniversary of the project, HSP has supported needy families during the holiday season for over three decades. Wishing to serve as many people as possible this Christmas, they are asking for the support of local individuals and organizations. Individuals or group donors can help by participating in the "Giving Tree" program. Donors are provided the gender and ages of needy children along with a list of suggested gifts for children of that age group. HSP is asking that the gift, or gifts, total $25 and are wrapped and delivered to their center in Carol Stream by December 17th. But before you purchase any gifts, please contact HSP to set up the Giving Tree. Every day, HSP receives calls from other impoverished families in DuPage and Kane Counties, hoping desperately that a donor will come along for their children as well. Currently there are hundreds of children on the waiting list, which is above and beyond the nearly 1,600 already committed. HSP hopes to provide gifts to all of these needy children as well.

As an alternative to the Giving Trees, anyone wishing to brighten the lives of needy children this Christmas can donate any new, unwrapped toys. At present, HSP has the greatest need for gifts for "tweens", an underserved age group representing 8-15 year olds.

In addition to toys and gifts, each of the 150 families and 123 seniors served by the Christmas Offering will receive over 250 lbs. of nutritious food to get them through the holiday season, so non-perishable food and monetary donations are also graciously accepted. For just $60, you could sponsor a needy family this Christmas, which would ensure that their children have presents under the tree, and that they have enough to eat during the month of December.

Anyone interested in more of a hands-on approach during the season of giving will be happy to know that HSP has volunteer opportunities available. The charity welcomes volunteers during daytime hours on December 5th, 6th, 12th, and 18th as they prepare to distribute the food and gifts to the needy families and seniors. Volunteers can also sign up to help distribute gifts on December 19th and 20th. Those interested in volunteering should contact the Humanitarian Service Project to reserve a timeslot.

Since its inception in 1979, HSP's Christmas Offering program has spread holiday joy to the neediest members of local communities. HSP's Executive Director, Kristin Maxwell said of the project, "Christmas is such a wonderful time, filled with love, laughter, and compassion. Sadly, there are many families burdened by poverty who view the holiday season as a stressful and anxiety-inducing time. The Christmas Offering aims to alleviate these difficult feelings and spread joy and hope through giving. During this season of giving, we should all remember that even the smallest of gestures could create a ripple effect of good will."

Contact the Humanitarian Service Project:

HSP's website:

HSP's blog:

About The Humanitarian Service Project:

HSP's mission is to alleviate the pain and suffering that poverty creates in seniors and children living in DuPage and Kane counties, Illinois. Last year during the Christmas Offering Project, 1,636 children received gifts and 150 impoverished families received three weeks of groceries, frozen meats, and fresh produce. With the Senior Citizen Project, HSP provides a monthly food delivery and secret pal gifts to 123 low-income seniors. The Children's Birthday Project reaches the youngest underprivileged, making birthdays and Christmas truly memorable occasions for 900 children. Feed the Kids provides 100 low-income families with groceries and fresh produce during the summer months. HSP conducts an annual school supplies drive that benefited a total of 5,200 children by giving supplies to the DuPage Back to School Fair and directly to schools and individual children.

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