For more than 40 years Community Thread has brightened the holidays for families and seniors in the St. Croix Valley.
The group is continuing that tradition this year with a program called Holiday Hope, formerly Holiday Bureau, to make sure that families and individuals in need have a good holiday.
Last year 1,187 people received gifts and food through the program, including 651 children. The program serves those in the boundaries of the Stillwater Area School District and is specifically geared toward families in need, people with disabilities and low-income seniors (55 and older).
Applicants can sign up for the program during the next few weeks on the following dates: Nov. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 19 from 5-8 p.m. and Nov. 21 from 5-8 p.m. Applications are accepted in person at the Community Thread Office, 2300 W. Orleans Street.
Qualifications for an applicant include facing a financial hardship, proof of residency, and ID for each child 18 and under. Families will be cross-referenced with other giving programs in Minnesota.
There are a couple of ways to volunteer and help out the program: as a sponsor and as a volunteer.
“People can become involved as a volunteer at the registration dates (listed above) and others can be found on the website too,” Community Thread’s Volunteer Center Program Manager Sara Pennebecker said. “One thing that really excites me about this program is the number of people who have already volunteered to help, we’re always looking for volunteers but for me I’ve been overwhelmed with volunteers and with this being my first time in this role it’s really exciting to see a community come together in the spirit of the holidays.”
Volunteer positions include office support, registration worker, donation sorter, gift shopper, applicant assistant and toy/gift drive coordinator.
Another way to help with this program is as a sponsor. Sponsors are matched with one of the applicants and provide gifts, as well as the fixings for a holiday meal, to the applicant’s family.
United Way of Washington County East is also working in partnership with this program.
“We’ve been in partnership with Community Thread for quite a few years on this,” UWWC-E Executive Director Angie Lien said. “We’re working on getting people and families to sponsor a meal. We’re hoping to help at least 100 families this year, so we have a $3,000 goal.”
Anyone can donate go at uwwce.org . Holiday meals cost $30.
“Honestly, holidays are stressful for everyone. Especially for those on a tighter budget,” Lien said. “It’s important for people to have all the ingredients for a holiday and help with food. Part of the holidays is helping others, and we are happy to help,” Lien said.
Financial donations of any amount or unwrapped gifts to benefit the program can also be given directly to Holiday Hope at Community Thread.
For more information or to get involved in this program go to communitythreadmn.org, or call Community Thread at 651-439-7434 and ask for Holiday Hope.
Contact Avery Cropp at [email protected]