The Advent and Christmas seasons brought some special gifts to 230 families, made possible through Vermont Catholic Charities’ Advent Appeal.

The 2019 appeal totaled $90,000 by Dec. 31.

There were 857 people, including 393 adults and 464 children, who received the gift of assistance for a variety of needs including help with back rent and utilities and fuel and car repair; some received gift and food cards.

“The financial support alleviated some financial burdens of our neighbors during the Advent season,” said Mary Beth Pinard, executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities. “Funds will also be used to help individuals and families throughout the year who face unexpected crisis through our Emergency Aid Program,” she added.

Among the recipients was Jean, a mother of two teenage children who also cares for her mother. Pinard explained that Jean works but finds it difficult, particularly in winter, to make ends meet. VCC helped Jean with a food card and a contribution toward a heating fuel fill up.

Jean and her family were surprised and relieved with the assistance. When expressing her gratitude Jean said, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the help at Christmas. This allows us to focus on family and what is really important around the holidays.”

Grace and Tom, parents of three young children, worried about how they were going to celebrate Christmas. Tom lost his job during the year, and although working now, the family is trying to catch up on bills from the summer.

VCC helped this family with a food card and gift card to enjoy Christmas. The food card helped replenish much needed food for the holidays, and the gift card was used to purchase winter boots, clothing and some gifts for the children.

Tom and Grace were delighted and appreciative of the help at Christmas, saying, “Thank you so much.  This gift will help us and our children have a great holiday that would otherwise have been impossible.”

Pinard acknowledged the generosity of donors which has sustained the collection for the past 25 years.  “Our faith teaches to help others because we are Catholic, not because those we serve are Catholics, and this is seen through the gifts from donors from throughout the state,” she said. “There continue to be individuals and families in our communities in need of support during the Christmas season and throughout the year. Our donors recognize this and want to bring joy and hope to people they have never (and most likely will never) meet. What an amazing gift of kindness.”