ICS Seeks Gifts of Love for Local Kids and Seniors

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Interfaith Community Services announces the launch of the annual Gifts of Love campaign. ICS invites individuals, families, faith communities, and other organizations to take advantage of this holiday service opportunity by providing gifts for a child, teen, or older or disabled adult in our community. The online adoption portal at icstucson.org/giftsoflove is now open through December 1, 2023. Donated gifts will be collected December 4-8 at ICS offices.

Gifts of Love is a need-based annual drive providing holiday gifts for children, teens, and older adults living alone. It brings joy to families living below the poverty line, and to older and disabled adults with no family or social network who might not receive any other gifts this year.

ICS case managers have identified more than 500 people affected this year by unemployment, hunger, homelessness, isolation, and other serious challenges. Profiles and wish lists for these individuals are available in the online adoption portal for review and selection by generous donors who can help them have a brighter holiday season.

“It is incredibly humbling to see the gifts requested by the families we are serving this year,” says Phil Lynn, Outreach and Partnerships manager at ICS. “Parents are asking for coats, socks and shoes, underwear, and other clothing for their children. Many of the older adults want very modest things like slippers and towels. These small things will bless their lives in big ways. Last December a woman thanked us for giving her a pair of shoes because now she doesn’t have to wear her slippers to the doctor.”

Parents and guardians of the children who are adopted will pick up their family’s gifts at ICS, along with wrapping paper and tape, so they can prepare for a relatively normal holiday season with kids whose lives might have been completely upended this year. Food from ICS food banks can provide a holiday meal with extended family or friends.

Volunteers deliver the gifts to older and disabled adults, who often appreciate the visit as much as the gifts they receive. For recipients without family who live alone and are largely homebound, a cheerful visitor can be the highlight of the holiday season.

“Every year we receive dozens of thank-you notes and phone calls from older adults who participate in Gifts of Love,” says Lynn. “Sometimes they’re so grateful they cry. Sometimes they make us cry. Don’t underestimate how much joy can come from a cardigan sweater and a jigsaw puzzle delivered by a friendly volunteer.”

There are three ways to help: adopt an individual or family to provide gifts; donate wrapping paper, tape, or gift bags for wrapping gifts; or, if there’s no time to shop, make a monetary gift. Donations can be used to buy presents for individuals who don’t get adopted through the portal before the December 1 deadline. ICS volunteers do the shopping.

Visit icstucson.org/giftsoflove for more information and to access the adoption portal.