Everyday Heroes

State Workers Band Together To Fill Christmas Wish Lists

After seeing how families they serve struggle, welfare workers in PA decided to do something to bring holiday cheer.

30 years ago, a group of employees in the Pennsylvania State Welfare Department had an idea. They could see the families they served struggling with day-to-day necessities. They thought: why not bring them a little holiday cheer by chipping in to fill their Christmas wish lists? They probably couldn't have imagined that their simple idea would blossom into a program that sends gifts to hundreds of people across the state, and involves thousands of state employees and even the National Guard.

"I'm immensely proud of the selfless employees who have given so much to ensure their fellow Pennsylvanians know they are cared for this holiday season," said Governor Tom Wolf in celebrating the 30th Annual Holiday Wish Program.

"This is what the holidays in Pennsylvania are all about - sharing in the spirit of giving."

"We recognize the hardships and barriers that many of the people we serve face and hope these gifts are able to bring so much joy to the many seniors, families, and children," said Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller at the gift distribution event:

This year more than 900 people, including more than 200 families and 100 seniors will get gifts that they personally requested through caseworkers. While some families asked for toys or bikes, the Wish List has even recieved requests for things that most people would consider necessities, like a bed, clothing or shoes. Pennsylvania National Guard loaded hundreds of wrapped gifts into military vehicles and delivered them to participating county assistance offices for distribution to the families and individuals.

Related story: Test Toys Become Holiday Joy for Hundreds of Kids

Congratulations to the selfless workers who sacrificed time and in some cases money to make someone else's holiday a little happier. Why not look for a charity in your community that needs donations to fill wish lists of needy neighbors, and help us #StartSomethingGood!

(Images and video: Commonwealth Media Services)

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