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Help Stafford make the holidays bright for needy families, children and seniors

This year has left many people feeling things are out of control, but one thing you can control is bringing joy to others. Consider contributing to the Stafford Department of Social Services Holiday Program, and brighten the upcoming holidays for a struggling family, a foster child or a lonely senior citizen. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, drive-thru donations will be accepted this year during specific dates in November and December at the old Anne E. Moncure Elementary School site. Clients may apply to participate in the program through Friday, October 16, 2020, an extension of the old date. To sponsor meals and/or gifts for participants, please visit the link below.

“It has been a difficult year for everyone, and we are asking for the public’s help in helping us provide for those among us who need a little extra help,” said Erin Riley, Program Coordinator for the Stafford County Department of Social Services. “Some of our clients have a harder time signing up online, a new procedure instituted in response to COVID-19, so we are getting the word out that we are extending the deadline.”

The program serves families, children and seniors who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF). Last year, more than 3,200 families were served, including a mother of five who showed up near the holidays. Social Services found wonderful sponsors for her family, and Riley said when she showed up and saw the gifts, including five bicycles, she fainted and had to be helped. She thanked everyone and said they had “changed her life.” A senior citizen was thrilled to receive a holiday meal, saying her grandchildren were coming to visit, and she could give them a real meal.

Sponsors (individuals, families or organizations) may give money, gifts or food. They can sponsor a whole family or just one person. In particular, Social Services ask that you try to buy the gifts listed online to ensure uniformity among the gifts. As well, they ask that sponsors buy gift cards for teenage children.

The drive-thru, no-contact drop-off for Thanksgiving dinner is on November 11, 12 and 13 from 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the old Anne E. Moncure Elementary School at 75 Moncure Lane, Stafford, VA 22554. Clients will be given pickup times the week after. For Christmas meals and presents, drop-off will occur on December 7-11, at the same time at the old Anne E. Moncure Elementary. Clients will pick up the next week.

For more information, visit https://staffordcountyva.gov/1895/Holiday-Program or contact Erin Riley at [email protected].

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