Churches help provide Christmas gifts for families in need

Posted by in TV Reports

CLEVELAND–It can cost a lot to shop for the holidays, but a couple of local churches are hoping to make gift-giving a bit easier.

Today, volunteers unloaded a truckload of Christmas donations for families in need.

The toys, games and clothes are a part of “Project Gift”–a drive to help parents shop for their kids.

“Last year, we served over 500 children,” said Michelle Ackerman, co-coordinator for Project Gift. “And this year, we’re looking, with the economy and everything, that the need is going to be a little bit greater, so we’re hoping more kids get a Christmas this year.”

The giveaway opens at 11 a.m. this Saturday at the Victory Church of the Nazarene, 1632 East 55th Street.

A personal shopper will help parents pick a free gift and get it wrapped–all in one stop.

This is the third year for the gift drive. Last year, many parents waited hours in the cold.

“People want to provide a Christmas for their children, and they were willing to wait in line,” Ackerman said. “When they walk through the doors, they were greeted with love, cookies and hot chocolate. They felt important. They are important. They are worthy of a nice Christmas.

The drive has grown significantly over the years, with support coming from unexpected places.

“We have people who came in from Chicago, friends who are here to help us for the next few days,” said Kristen Zeleny, co-coordinator of the project. “It’s a collaboration within the community. It’s overwhelming to us, for these few days. But it’s well worth it.”

Project Gift accepts donations throughout the year. They are especially need gifts for boys and teenagers. Donations can be taken to the State Road Community Church of North Royalton, 8600 State Road.

Get a behind-the-scenes look of Project Gift in this photo gallery here.