Ashtabula — The HALO Christmas program (Holiday Angels Loving Others) is once again under way.
HALO is a special outreach program coordinated by Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County and is designed to help individuals and families in need with food and toys during the holiday season.
The 2013 HALO Advisory Board consists of the following agencies and representatives: Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County — Pam Richcreek; Ashtabula County Community Action Agency — Rosemary Perkoski; Jefferson Coordinators — Mary and Jack Howe; Andover Coordinator – Barb Bosley; The Star Beacon — James Frustere; Conneaut Human Resources Center — Renea Roach; LEADERship Ashtabula County — Debbi Waring; Ashtabula Senior Center — Lisa Bruckman; Pierpont Presbyterian Church — Beth Kiser; Salvation Army — Alice Harden.
Eligibility for the HALO program is based upon income status and need. Individuals and families who fall at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty guidelines may qualify for assistance.
Applications to receive HALO assistance will be taken between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30 at various sites throughout the County. A complete listing of those sites will be posted in September. In fairness to all involved, the Nov. 30 deadline will be enforced, and no extensions will be granted.
Although Christmas is several months away, it is never too soon to contact Catholic Charities and offer to be a part of this program.
There are several ways to help HALO:
Adopt a Family — Adoption opportunities are provided for organizations and individuals wishing to provide direct assistance to individuals or families. 589 families were adopted throughout the county in 2012.
HALO Toy Chest — Through this project, there will be no direct contact established with the families. Instead, a person or organization will provide two toys for each of the five different age groups for infants through teens.
Donate — Send monetary donations, which are tax deductible, to HALO of Ashtabula County, 4200 Park Ave., Third Floor, Ashtabula, OH 44004.
Volunteer — Assist with collecting applications, data entry, transporting of goods and distribution of services. Both adult and student volunteers are welcome.
A mass distribution takes place at several sites throughout the county the week prior to Christmas. Outreach to special populations such as the homebound elderly and severe mentally disabled ensure that the most vulnerable citizens are included.
Overall, the HALO program has been able to serve approximately 2,000 households each year.
The HALO Advisory Board and all of the HALO program supporters are dedicated to serving those in need. Now is the time to join in this community-wide effort to provide help and create hope. For more information contact Pam Richcreek at Catholic Charities at (440) 992-2121.