Holiday Helping Hand Program
The Holiday Helping Hand is a partnership of community businesses/organizations and United Way of Southern Illinois. This program provides support for individuals, seniors, children and families who might otherwise have little or nothing for the holidays but is limited each year by the number of participating businesses.
100% of your gift to the Holiday Helping Hand program goes to clients; United Way will not recoup any expenses from your gift.
How Can You Help?
As Holiday Helping Hands, you’ll be matched with a family who is in need this holiday season. Holiday Helping Hands can be representatives of companies, departments/divisions, neighborhood associations, churches, civic organizations, families, friends or individuals.
You &/or your group “adopt” a family and provide needed items from the wish list(s).
Organizations may provide gift cards and food for one or all families adopted.
Cash contributions to Holiday Helping Hand program allow UWSI staff and volunteers to shop for Wish list items, or purchase gift cards (i.e. grocery, gas, movie/event passes).
If you are interested in helping to make this Christmas special for a less fortunate family,
please let us know, no later than November 15th so that we may match you with a deserving family.
Families & Gifts:
Families must provide names, ages, and sizes of all household members; phone number(s) and address of family; a scenario of their situation; & a Wish list of gift ideas from the family. Families are carefully screened by the UWSI staff for:
Need (hardship, what is their “story”?)
Are they receiving other help? (i.e. Angel Tree, Shop with a Cop, Toys for Tots, & other local organizations)
Have they received help from UWSI in the past?
Location (i.e. within UWSI 14 county region)
Referral from an agency or school. UWSI works with over 50 programs who directly serve clients seeking assistance. Caseworkers are encouraged to refer only those families with whom they have personal knowledge of their circumstances. We ask caseworkers to refer families with extreme need.
Please wrap and label all gifts for each family member. UWSI will arrange with the family (date, time and place) for the delivery (usually at the family's home). The delivery of gifts must be by December 22. It is your choice if you want to deliver or to stay anonymous and let UWSI deliver. We ask that you be sensitive to a family's need, keeping in mind you may not know all the circumstances. We ask that you let them celebrate their holiday privately. Many families will send a note or card that their families liked the gifts and appreciated what the HHH’s did.
Some families could use assistance with basic needs including toiletry items or food for the pantry.
Gently Used Items: These items should be given IN ADDITION TO the items you buy IF it is okay with the family. Please ask the UWSI staff to contact the family regarding this idea and please do not wrap these items; just deliver them with the rest of the gifts.
If for any reason your group cannot follow through with your commitment, please notify the UWSI immediately.