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You Can Help Give Kids in Crisis a Happy Holiday

Anne Linaberger

One gift card.


Just one gift card can make a huge difference for a woman and her children who are running for their lives this holiday season.


For clients of the Women's Center and Shelter of Pittsburgh, the holidays aren't the joyous time they are for others. These families are escaping from domestic violence situations, sometimes with only the clothes on their backs. So planning for Christmas and Santa bringing presents is the furthest thing from their minds.

"If you're a mom you want to be able to provide everything you can for your child to have a beautiful holiday season. That can be difficult in a shelter." Nicole Karaczun, President & CEO, Women's Center and Shelter of Pittsburgh

That's why the folks at Women's Center and Shelter work extra hard to make their shelter feel like home during the holidays, with parties, and even gifts for the kids. But they need your help to make it happen. Here's how:

The focus of the Women's Center and Shelter's holiday plan is their "Adopt a Family" program. They ask donors to give gift cards that are provided to their clients (in shelter and those who receive services there), allowing them to shop for their families. Each child and mother gets $50 in cards. "The mothers talk about feeling like they're actually providing Christmas for their kids, going through the process listening to their children, asking what they want, knowing they can provide for them," explained Karaczun. "It's very empowering," for women who are leaving a home life where they had their power taken away by their abuser she said.


Gift cards to affordable stores like Target and Walmart are especially welcome, as are credit-card-type cards that allow the mothers to shop anywhere. Smaller denominations ($10 or $20) are also helpful so moms can shop at multiple stores for each child.

The cards are given to the women during one of many holiday parties sponsored by the shelter's corporate and community donors. If you'd like to help make the holidays brighter for a family in crisis, go to the WC&S website to find out more about Adopt a Family.

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