Generous outpouring for ‘Spirit of Christmas’ families

The Rio Grande Valley came together to help 13 families in need as part of the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ series, a partnership between The Monitor and United Way of South Texas.

Earlier this month, The Monitor featured the plight of 19 families chosen by the local chapter of United Way. And while their struggles ranged from the effects of fires, floods and illnesses, their needs were similar, with most lacking the most basic resources.

Many of the families struggled with children in tow and needed a helping hand.

Monitor readers, however, answered the call to action and donated more than $8,400 in monetary gifts and an array of goods, including food, clothing, furniture and other supplies.

United Way of South Texas President Lilly Lopez-Killelea thanked everyone involved for their efforts.

“The United Way Board of Directors and staff are incredibly grateful to The Monitor and (the) community for expressing their support through donations and well wishes for the families featured,” she said via email. “Thank you also to the volunteers and counselors who took the time and effort to make sure these families received support through the Spirit of Christmas Program.”

The nonprofit managed the donations and did not keep any portion of the proceeds.

Donors contributed dozens and dozens of toys, 45 wrapped gifts and seven bags of unwrapped presents. For the littlest ones, donors gave parents some much-needed supplies, including diapers, baby wipes, two high chairs and four boxes of baby clothes.

Major home appliances and furniture were also donated, including a stove, refrigerator, set of couches, two full-sized mattresses, two air mattresses, a 40-inch flat screen TV, two slow cookers, a stereo, and four pan sets.

Contributors also made sure families stayed warm through the donation of three heaters, seven new blankets, a comforter, four new bed sets and eight pillows.

And for those with medical needs, donors gifted a wheelchair and a large box of medical supplies. Pantries will also be stocked after more than $250 worth of groceries was donated.

Three families are also receiving home repair assistance, while another family received a trailer home that is still being repaired. One person also received the gift of employment.

“Nothing brings us more joy than knowing our coverage has had a deep and meaningful impact on the lives of families who are in need. We credit the generosity of the people of the Rio Grande Valley and the assistance of United Way of South Texas for bringing some joy to South Texas’ less fortunate,” Monitor Publisher Stephan Wingert said. “We remain committed to telling the stories of those who are the most vulnerable among us.”