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Holiday Helping Hand grant helps Astor keep people warm - Poughkeepsie Journal

RHINEBECK - Astor Services for Children and Families will keep hundreds of kids and families in Dutchess County warm this winter thanks to a grant to buy hats, gloves, blankets and scarves.

It’s part of a joint project by the Poughkeepsie Journal and the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region called Holiday Helping Hand. In its 33rd year, the project aims to help people in need in the community.

Astor Services, a federally funded Early Head Start and Head Start programheadquartered in Rhinebeck, provides child developmental services for children and their families who live at or below the poverty line.

“The focus through the program is relationship-based, strength-based, and is parent inclusive,” Sonia Barnes-Moorhead, vice president of The Children’s Foundation of Astor, said. “Because of the population we serve, children and families in poverty, it truly made sense for us to participate in this program to further serve them during the holiday season."

Astor Services is one of 25 local community service groups that will benefit from this season's Holiday Helping Hand. More than $37,000 will be used this year to purchase gifts, food, toys, clothing and utility assistance to lift holiday spirits of people in need in our community.

In the last three years, Astor has received $12,000 and helped nearly 1,500 people with the program thanks to grants from the United Way.

“Interest and need have increased over the years," Barnes-Moorhead said. "Among many reasons, the economy certainly has impacted the (increased need).”

This year, Astor's Head Start and holiday clinics received a $3,000 award to provide holiday gifts to purchase an array of gifts focused on “basic needs,” Moorehead said. That includes gloves, sweaters, blankets and coats.

More than 250 families have signed up and more are expected to in the coming weeks, Barnes-Moorhead said.

“Last year, more than 425 children and their families received the opportunity to experience the holidays in a meaningful way thanks to support from Holiday Helping Hand,” Jeannie Montano, president and CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, said. “One of the parents said that 'because of you, we had a wonderful holiday season.’ With your gift to Holiday Helping Hand, you’re ensuring that many families will have a true holiday season.”

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