It’s not to early to talk about the Holiday Giving Program

Every year, Southborough families generously donate to the Holiday Giving Program, often through local organizations.

Gift cards and checks go to Friends of Southborough Youth Commission.  Southborough Youth and Family Services uses the contributions for helping families in need over the winter holidays.

I’ve been happy to contribute in past years. But when I got a message asking me to promote it last week, my reaction was, “Isn’t early October too soon?”

I was wrong.

The program is a complicated one, and SYFS needs to start the work of compiling lists of both families in need and participating donors.

If you would like to enroll in the program, please contact Laurie Sugarman-Whittier at Southborough Youth and Family Services (508 481-5676, ext. 1) for a confidential conversation.

If you want to find out how your organization can help participate in the holiday drive, please contact SYFS at 508-481-5676 or email

Here is their message:

Southborough Youth and Family Services, with support from Friends of the Southborough Youth Commission, is starting preparations for this year’s Holiday Giving program, which we coordinate with the schools and other local groups. Although our town is blessed with a vibrant, successful population of educated, caring residents, we do have among us those who are barely making it through each week. Not everyone owns a home, a car, or a degree. Sometimes through no fault of their own, families find themselves in staggeringly difficult situations. 

Some of our town’s children have become innocent victims in situations where accident, job loss or a difficult divorce has abruptly ripped a parent’s conscientious planning to shreds. In other instances, poor parental choices, alcohol or drugs may have been the cause of the children’s hardship. There are also occasions when a grandparent or relative with severely limited resources will intercede to do the right thing and care for a child, but children have medical needs, grow out of clothing, and incur costs that can not always be met. The stresses can be overwhelming

Each holiday season we orchestrate a Holiday giving program that quietly provides necessities and gifts for families who are in a crisis. When life is bleak, the holidays can be impossibly difficult. In the past, through the understanding compassion and generosity of townspeople, we have been able to keep heat on in some homes by distributing oil coupons. We have ensured that children would have winter jackets, snow-pants, and boots. Underwear and P.J’s were replenished and grocery coupons helped to put food in bare cabinets. We have made an effort also to provide a few special gifts that will thrill the child who opens them. Most people in need do not want to be perceived as such, and work desperately to hide, and relieve their situation. We keep identities confidential to protect and respect their dignity. Many local groups, businesses and families have supported our program for many years.

If you are in a family that is facing financial hardship this holiday season, please feel free to contact Laurie Sugarman-Whittier at Southborough Youth and Family Services (508 481-5676, ext. 1) to discuss becoming part of our program. Again, your information will be kept in strictest confidence.

If you are interested in donating to the program, we would love to hear from you as well. Southborough Youth and Family Services is a town organization but we could not do the good we do without your assistance. Friends of the Southborough Youth Commission enables you to make tax-deductible donations supporting our efforts. We extend deeply- felt thanks to all of you, for any help you choose to provide this holiday season to our needy families in Southborough.

(Image posted to Flickr by One Way Stock)

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