Human Services Director Elaine Daignault announced today that the Department of Human Services is sponsoring its annual Holiday Giving Program for Westport residents.
Daignault said, “The Human Services’ Annual Holiday Program relies on community donations to bring holiday cheer to Westport families facing financial hardship this season. Approximately one hundred families with school-aged children benefit annually from the income-based assistance program.”
Human Services has noted an increase in requests for financial assistance in the wake of the pandemic. Between the rise in food, shelter, and fuel costs, many Westport families are under enormous stress to maintain employment and cover their basic food and housing needs.
According to Human Services’ Family Program Coordinator Annette D’Augelli, “Westport’s Holiday Giving Program has provided tremendous comfort and relief to recipients and offers residents and local businesses an opportunity to pay it forward.”
D’Augelli stressed that the beneficiaries remain anonymous. Both gift cards and cash donations are accepted and matched with families who can purchase food and simple holiday gifts for their children.
“Over the past few years, we are seeing more working families who are struggling to meet their family’s needs. Many households work multiple jobs and stretch their incomes to cover basic needs like food, clothing, and childcare. This program allows parents to purchase gifts, new clothes, and food for the holidays,” said D'Augelli.
As always, 100% of all donations go directly to families who qualify for financial assistance throughout the year. Human Services pivoted from accepting material donations like toys and clothes to gift cards, checks, and cash. Gift cards also allow parents to personalize their children's gifts and fully participate in the community's festive holiday season, feeling confident that their modest gift expenses will not create a monetary shortfall after the season has passed.
D’Augelli continued, “The generosity and kindness of the Westport community continue to amaze me each year. We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support.”
Westport residents and organizations who wish to donate cash, checks, or gift cards to the program can contribute to the “Family to Family Seasonal Holiday Giving Program” online at www.westportct.gov/donate.
Contributions can also be dropped to Town Hall or mailed to the Westport Department of Human Services at Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.