Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Requests To Help Children Arriving at a Record Level

Not sure why, but we have been deluged with requests for help from our annual Bright Christmas campaign. Maybe the times aren’t as good as some of us think and the poor need more assistance this year than we even thought.

This is not the time to figure out why but to hunker down and find the funds to help. And so we come to our readers once again and ask for a donation. Last year, you responded by sending in more than $100,000. This year, the requests easily exceed that amount – and some of our regulars have not checked in yet.

This week, I heard from our friend Sister Mary of the Angelus, SSVM, the director of religious education at Mary Mother of the Church parish in East New York.

“Last year, we had a wonderful Christmas thanks to you and your generous supporters,” writes Sister Mary. “We were able to give each child who came to Mass a bag with remembrances of the Gift of Emmanuel, God Saves, at Christmas. God willing, this year we will do the same.”

She adds that the parish’s Catechism Program has grown this year. There are more children with special needs, with three children with Downs.

“Times seem to be more difficult for some this year too,” she says. “I know of several families this year who are struggling to make ends meet, even some of my own catechists. Illnesses have cut the family workforce in half. If possible, I would like to be able to make their Christmas brighter with a gift card for food to share with their families.”

Shakima Bell, director of Catholic Charities After School Plus at PS 50 in Jamaica requests funds for a party and small gifts for children at the after school program.

“We are currently serving 280 participants ages 5-11 in grades kindergarten through fifth,” she explains.

A pastor in Brooklyn writes: “Our parish comprises three major language and cultural groups, namely Haitians, Ghanaians and Caribbeans. As is always the case for families in economically-challenged circumstances, the season of Christmas becomes more stressful. My parishioners are very much economically handicapped, especially taking care of all the Christmas needs of their children, besides having to provide for their families back in the home countries. The Bright Christmas grant will be a source of timely blessing and a great financial relief.”

And then there is Sister Victoria Kamungu, a Franciscan Missionary Sister of Assisi, who works at Trinity Human Services in Williamsburg. “We provide food, clothing, and gifts for needy children during the special Christmas holiday,” she says. “Most of these children are from low-income families who need help to celebrate this holiday season like other kids in the area. Last year, we were able to provide an event for families at which about 500 children Christmas holiday because of your generous donation.”

Please don’t wait to respond to our Bright Christmas Appeal. As soon as we receive the money from you, we will send it out to fill requests like these.

Send your donations to Bright Christmas, c/o The Tablet, 1712 Tenth Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11215.