Online Originals: Charities plan their holiday drives early amid COVID-19

Online Originals

GREENVILLE (WNCT) – Members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church are making sure no one will miss out on this holiday season. 

Charitable programs like the Giving Tree are adapting to COVID-19 regulations. This year, there will be no physical tree, but the spirit of the season lives on. Father Ian says the Giving Tree program has been around for 40 years. 

So typically what we do is, we set up here in the lobby, we set up a tree and people have names and we go shop. 

Fr. Ian Van Huesen

This is the first year they’re having to make a few changes.

But this year because of the restrictions we had to adapt. We’re going to be giving money, we raised a good amount, and doing things a little differently to take those extra precautions.

Fr. Ian Van Huesen

The church is asking for monetary donations so that they can give gift cards to people in need. This cuts down on the potential spread of the virus with physical items. He says adaptations are needed during the pandemic 

Yes we want to be safe we want to follow precautions but our relationships are vital, people are important. We have to reach out, we have to care for other people. We can’t ever let off on that. 

Fr. Ian Van Huesen

And they’re not the only organizations adapting. The Salvation Army Kettle Bell Ringers will be wearing gloves, masks, and disposable aprons. They’ll also be sanitizing the kettles. The volunteer coordinator for the program says they need donations for hand sanitizing wipes. They say a big challenge they’ve faced is getting enough sanitizing donations, because people are often limited to one item at check-out. They are also in need of volunteers.

The Toys For Tots program hosted by the Marine Corps will still accept physical items. 

Father Ian says its not only financial gifts that are important in times like these.

Connecting, you can connect digitally. You can do video calls you can do phone calls. Say to somebody I’m here for you. Even if we can’t be present physically, we can connect digitally.

Fr. Ian Van Huesen

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