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Season of Giving Begins in Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, but it's also a great opportunity to give others something to be thankful for. In Westport, one way residents can help those in need is through the annual holiday giving program sponsored by the Department of Human Services.

Through the program, donors within the community fulfill holiday wish lists submitted by income-eligible Westport residents and families.

"Over the years, the generosity of volunteer donors has made the holidays brighter for hundreds of children, families and seniors in our town," said Human Services Director Barbara Butler. "Foreclosures, layoffs and reduced work hours have hit our community just as they have so many others so the need for voluntary contributions to help our own neighbors continues to be significant."

Last year, more than 125 families received support through the program — which is completely confidential, Butler said.

Knowing that times are tough, Butler said donations of any level are appreciated. Residents looking to help can fulfill the wish list of one child or an entire family, or donate gift cards for food, gas discount department stores — allowing parents to shop for their children.

"In addition, tax-deductible contributions are gratefully accepted as they allow fulfillment of last-minute requests," Butler added.

Westport residents and organizations who wish to donate to this effort are urged to call the Department of Human Services at 203-341-1069 or email humansrv@westportct.gov as soon as possible. Families who feel they will need extra support during the holiday season are also urged to contact the department.

"This program has developed largely in response to calls from Westport residents and organizations who wish to share their holiday spirit with others less fortunate than they," Butler said. "Over the years, the community has given generously with many individuals, garden and book clubs, scout troops, schools, houses of worship and businesses participating in the program — many of them year after year.

"To all of these individuals and organizations, the department expresses heartfelt appreciation for demonstrating that Westport is indeed a caring and generous community."

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