Thursday, more than 130 families will receive Christmas gifts at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish.
Members of five Westborough churches – St. Luke’s, the Congregational Church of Westborough, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, the Unitarian Universalist Congregational Society of Westborough and the First United Methodist Church of Westborough – bought the wrapped gifts for the children.
The Westborough Interfaith Giving Tree also will provide gifts to adults residing at the Bridge of Central Massachusetts’ Westborough residences; the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps’ Fay A. Rotenberg School, the Pelletier Center; the Chauncy Hall Academy; Spectrum Health Systems; and the homeless families residing at the Extended Stay America, says St. Luke’s Outreach Coordinator Pat Gagnon, who coordinates the Giving Tree with Nan Ford.
Organizers send out applications to schools and human service agencies in town, and “they can designate people that they feel qualify,” such as kids receiving free lunches, Gagnon says.
Also: each school, church and agency can have applications for those they feel would benefit from the program, such as families that “might be going through a difficult time. Maybe someone just lost a job, or they’re going through a divorce,” Gagnon says.
The individuals each fill out and application, and can choose four gifts, she says. They have two options: four gifts from the Giving Tree, or three gifts from the Giving Tree and one from Westborough Youth and Familiy Services’ holiday store.
The requests are placed on tags.
“Each church decides how many tags their congregation can handle, and they get that many” for their members,” Gagnon says. A member then takes that tag, buys the gift and brings it to St. Luke’s.
The Giving Tree also accepts gift cards to local stores, with $25 to $50 the recommended amounts, “because we distribute them to people in need in the town,” Gagnon says.
St. Luke’s started the Giving Tree around 1980, she says. The program became the Westborough Interfaith Giving Tree about six years ago.