For many people, the weekend before the holidays is filled with last-minute shopping, baking and enjoying holiday gatherings with friends and family. This year, for a group of generous Target associates, it was also a time to give back.
Working with the United Way Volunteer Resource Center, employees from 17 area Target stores took part in charitable projects benefitting local residents in need.
One of the most heartwarming was a party for local kids and families who’ve had a particularly tough year. The festivities, hosted by associates from the Target Oviedo store, featured a holiday feast, a beautifully decorated tree, and gifts for each child.
The special guests of honor included 15 kids and their families who were served over the past year by the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), which United Way is administering to help people avoid or recover from homelessness.
Nicole Sylvas, an HPRP case manager who was invited to attend the event, shared the following:
“There was a huge tree with presents for each of the children. Target had personally wrapped each and every gift…imagine the excitement in the kids’ eyes to see their names under the tree! I heard comments like, ‘This is so awesome’ and ‘Mom, look at this! Look! Look! Look!’
Anyone looking on could tell Target had personally chosen the gifts for each child. It was clear they took the time to ensure this was a special event for those families who had come face to face with homelessness.”
In addition to the party and a variety of volunteer activities, Target donated 25 holiday trees which United Way volunteers delivered to other HPRP clients. The donation was part of Target’s national Share-A-Tree Program, which has distributed thousands of trees through United Way organizations over the past 20 years.
I am so grateful to Target and others whose generosity and creativity made the holidays a happy time for so many. You are making our Central Florida home a better, happier place to live – thank you!
Shari Orr, MPA
Manager of Community Participation
United Way Volunteer Resource Center