Santa to the Homeless
Unificationists in New York City are filling the shoes of Santa this year, giving away hot meals and necessities to the homeless on Christmas—and you can help, too! Donations and volunteers are needed for care packages that will be distributed around the city on December 25.
“We are living in very tumultuous times and New York City has been one of the most impacted places in the world,” said project organizer Stephanie Dias, assistant pastor of the Family Church of New York City (FCNYC). “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to lose their jobs and lose their homes. The city’s homeless rate skyrocketed this year and our team wanted to do something to give back and support them during this time.”
What was once a thriving top travel destination worldwide quickly dissolved into a ghost town in the months that followed a citywide shutdown in March. New York City became a hotspot of a different kind—the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
“Lots of homeless shelters are at capacity, and their resources are very limited,” said Dias. “We have organized a great service project and we’re inviting anyone to participate. We are collaborating with youth from the Queens Family Church for this amazing opportunity to give back to our beautiful city.”
Volunteers will hand out more than 200 meals and care packages on the streets Christmas Day. New York City accounts for more than 14 percent of the nation’s homeless population—an estimated 80,000 men, women, and children—according to a 2018 government report. Dias, who is seeking funds from the community through her Santa to the Homeless campaign on GoFundMe, said her staff is also teaming up with local supermarkets and restaurants for food donations.
“These funds will help in the event that we can’t get all of the things on our donations list,” she said. “We’ll provide not only the meal in the care packages, but also non-perishable snacks, juice boxes, and water, as well as gloves, hand sanitizer, and a reusable mask.”
In under a week, the fundraiser has reached more than $700 of the $2,000 goal. Volunteers will box all of the care packages at 5:00 p.m. on December 23 at the Queens Family Church in Flushing; then gather at the FCNYC building on 43rd Street in Manhattan at 10:00 a.m. on December 25 to assign the distribution sites.
“We hope that people will donate their time or any monetary amount that they can offer toward this wonderful cause,” said Dias. “This is truly what the spirit of Christmas is all about.”
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