he Snowflake Shop at St. Elizabeth Catholic Community Center in Rockford opened on the morning of Dec. 23 to welcome families in need and help them make Christmas merry for their children.
Bishop David Malloy and many volunteers, donning Santa hats and Christmas cheer, helped visiting parents shop for a toy, a warm clothing item and a snack. Once parents chose their presents, they were treated to free coffee and donuts while the volunteers wrapped their packages to take home. An estimated 400 families signed up for the program and were able to receive toys and treats for only $5. The Snowflake Shop program was helped along by a partnership with Forest City Church of Rockford, which provided additional donations and volunteers.
(Observer photos/Penny Wiegert)
Bishop David Malloy laughs with a volunteer dressed as Santa Claus. They agreed that those at the Snowflake Shop were all 'on the nice list.' Sarah Mattson, right, of St. Rita Parish in Rockford, along with her daughter Natalie, a student at Boylan Central Catholic High School, wrap presents during Catholic Chari- ties' Snowflake Shop. The two have been volunteering at St. Elizabeth Catholic Community Center for the past 10 years. A volunteer holds a list while helping a parent shop. Toys for all ages lined the tables of the shop.
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St. Elizabeth Snowflake Shop Makes Christmas Merry
Snowflakes and Service
FOR YOUR HOLY FAMILY
In the Bleak Midwinter" is a beautiful Christmas carol, one you might have heard during the last few weeks. But this bleak midwinter is also a threat that people who are homeless face during and after Christmas. As we look forward to snow days or work from home to stay safe during ice storms or high winds, it can be easier to forget about people without warm homes to stay in. One way that your family can give a warm blessing - literally and figuratively - to someone who is homeless is to make a win- ter blessing bag. Blessing bags are helpful any time of year, but winter bags address a few extra needs. We made a list of some items you might consider adding. When you're ready, pack these in a zippered plastic bag to keep them clean and make them easy to give out. There are plenty of websites to guide your blessing bag-making, but we found our favor- ite list as well as explanations of where to find each item at https://organized31.com/blessing- bags-homeless-cold-weather/ - Megan Peterson
Be a Blessing This Winter
n Heat packs n Rain ponchos n Hats that cover the ears n Both thin and thick gloves (or mittens) n Mints and hard candy n Gift card to a restaurant or coffee shop n Hand lotion n Lip balm n Tissue packs
hen we are generous in welcoming people and sharing something with them - some food, a place in our homes, our time - not only do we no longer remain poor: we are enriched. I am well aware that when someone needing food knocks at your door, you always find a way of sharing food; as the proverb says, one can always 'add more water to the beans!'
- Pope Francis
(CNS photo/David Maung)
Consider giving someone who is homeless a gift card for a coffee shop or restaurant - this gives them a hot meal and a clean bathroom. The Observer
FRIDAY JANUARY 14, 2022