Children do not have to be infected with HIV or have AIDS to be affected by the disease. Each year, some children of parents living with HIV/AIDS do not have a happy holiday season due to the financial burden that often goes with their family member’s struggle to survive.
Many difficulties compound the financial burdens of HIV/AIDS for clients of Big Bend Cares, such as:
- 62% of Big Bend Cares’ clients live below the federal poverty level, which is $24,600 annually for a family of four. Many of the remaining percentage are still low income, and have many health costs that impact their financial stability.
- Many of our clients struggle to afford basic necessities like nutritious food, keeping the utilities on, keeping up with rent, reliable transportation, and medical care. Buying their kids gifts for the holidays may be impossible or an extreme financial and emotional strain. Holiday Angels may be the only time of year that the children receive new clothes that fit and are meant for them.
- The recent Hurricane Michael has caused additional hardships for many families who are signed up for this program. Some families are dealing with damaged houses, unexpected expenses from spoiled food, or having to take in displaced family members. Being a Holiday Angel can bring crucial resources as well as a sense of normalcy to these families.
There are several ways that you can help ensure that the holidays are happy and stable for these children.
For the 2018 year, we have 254 children signed up! Here is how you can get involved:
- Sponsor a family! Sign up to shop for gifts for a family of anywhere between 1 and 9 children. We will send you information about the child’s clothing sizes and interests to help you pick out a couple clothing items and toys for them. Drop the items off by December 14th, wrapped or unwrapped, and know that you’ve made a direct impact on the family’s life!
- Donate online or send us a check, so that we can buy gifts for any families that do not find sponsors. 100% of the funds raised for Holiday Angels pay for items for the kids. To designate online donations for Holiday Angels, please send Caitlin an email with that information.
- Recruit friends, family, office staff, church groups, or other community members to support Holiday Angels! Participating in this program can be a fantastic group activity. It’s also a helpful alternative for those who might not have the funds to buy gifts or donate money, but who may know others who have that ability.
- Volunteer — we will need help shopping for gifts on December 15th using the funds raised for the program. On December 16th, we need help wrapping, inventorying, and organizing all the gifts in our office so that we can start distribution the next day.
For more information about the program and ways to help, call Caitlin Steiner at 850-656-2437, ext 224, or e-mail email@example.com.
Please remember that all gifts to Big Bend Cares are deductible from your federal income taxes. Consult the Internal Revenue Service or your tax advisor for more information.