With the new year just around the corner, we want to take this opportunity to thank EVERYONE who has helped us make the GRACE Christmas Cottage possible. From our core group of volunteers, a.k.a. the elves, to all volunteers and donors who give and organize donations to welcome and bless the families we serve. We simply couldn’t do it without you. And, of course, to our staff who manages the cottage, organizes the sign-ups for volunteers, and the multitude of staff who come alongside this program to organize the Open House and who just fill in when needed. Thank you one and all!

Many people don’t know how families are made eligible for the Christmas Cottage. It starts right when we are blessed with a location to house this program. Our Client Services staff made up of a CS Manager, four case workers and two administrative support team members interview every family who is seeking assistance for the holidays. They meet with each family to do an assessment of their needs and find out more about their circumstances that have put them in the position to need help at Christmas. They gather documents from the families to help verify the need and then they set them an appointment. Meanwhile, they are looking for other ways GRACE can assist the family….food pantry visits, holiday food “baskets”, help with financial assistance for rent and utilities, need for medical assistance, etc. These are not short visits to say the least! So when we disclose the number of families served at the Christmas Cottage, please remember that every single one of those families and more have had at least one detailed interview with a Client Service’s case worker. As Christmas got closer, there could be as many as 80 families served in one day. Their work is mostly behind the scenes and they get great pleasure knowing that GRACE is able to assist with such worthwhile programs.

So this year, GRACE Christmas Cottage has served 878 households.  This number will most likely increase as “emergency” needs continue to be assessed and a few additional families will be blessed on an individual basis.

Again, thank you to our hundreds of dedicated volunteers, staff, donors, and the community for allowing GRACE to serve families in need. Each one of you worked tirelessly to make Christmas special for each child.

Now, we might be wrapped up for 2022, but there is no better time to hit the after Christmas sales in preparation for 2023! Don’t worry about storage, we can accept Christmas Cottage donations any time of year. Please contact Beth Chernik bchernik@gracegrapevine.org for details.

We hope you had a merry Christmas and will continue on into a happy new year!