Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Posted on November 28, 2016 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

Family Volunteer Day

On November 19th, 2016 families volunteered to support those in need

By Karen Daly

It was beginning to look and sound a lot like Christmas at Catholic Charities 2nd National Family Volunteer Day on Saturday, November 19.

A Few Seasoned Volunteers like Me

Families, sorority sisters, friends, Girl Scouts, couples, members of Catholic Charities Junior Board, and a few seasoned volunteers like me answered the call on a bright Saturday morning. The focus was on showing the children they could have fun, and be creative and generous at the same time.

Recruiter’s Mom Volunteers for Family Volunteer Day

Staci-Jo Bruce, Catholic Charities Director of Volunteer Services and her team recruited a wide array of participants for the event, which was held at Cathedral High School in Midtown Manhattan. More than 150 volunteers came out to make arts and crafts Christmas gifts destined for children and families in Catholic Charities extensive network.

Staci told me she was touched by seeing a mom bringing back her 3 year old who came last year, starting a family tradition of service.

And speaking of instilling a tradition of service, Staci-Jo’s mother, June, joined us, even though she was fresh off the plane from an adventure in Australia.

Family Volunteer Projects

Staci and her team had organized an assortment of gifts for the volunteers to make. They were careful to have projects that even the youngest children could have the satisfaction of completing. I was impressed with their ingenuity in using everyday objects, such as buttons, ribbons and Popsicle sticks and with their clear instructions

With holiday music softly playing, and enormous good cheer, lively youngsters enthusiastically took to their projects. The littlest one, Nova Rose, at 9 ½ months, was too young for any crafts, but she surely charmed everyone in the room.

  • Volunteers made paper ornaments for a giving tree for donors as well as reindeer ornaments, and busy books for children.
  • Youngsters especially enjoyed making Christmas cards, hand-decorating them with buttons and ribbons, making each one unique.
  • The little ones showed their crayon skills by coloring blessings bags. 
  • Another favorite station was the snow globe table. Volunteers of all ages seemed to love creating them from Mason jars, adding water, ornaments, a finishing touch of glitter on the lids, and including a short personal message for the recipient.
  • Others tackled the task of fashioning colorful warm blankets intended for a homeless shelter by meticulously cutting fabric, and hand knotting attractive fringe.
  • Some families got to work assembly-line style, filling gift bags for adults with donated personal items and winter accessories.

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Catholic Charities Executive Director, thanked the volunteers for their work and good cheer.  He noted that National Family Volunteer Day strengthens the families who have fun with the projects while it helps the families in the community we serve.

Yes, Jonah, there is a…

I overheard an excited 8-year-old named Jonah, who was making Santa Claus ornaments, tell his mom, “People are going to be so happy.”

Yes, Jonah, I agree that many people will be happy to receive these gifts knowing how much care and love went into making them.

Karen Daly is a writer and volunteer Charity in Action blogger. 

Check out our special holiday volunteer opportunities

Catholic Charities Virtual Gala

Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 PM

View It Here