The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 22, 2008

Organizations, individuals gear up HALO activities

ASHTABULA — The HALO Christmas program, Holiday Angels Loving Others, is an outreach program coordinated by Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County.

HALO is designed to help the needy with food and toys during the holiday season.

This program, however, does not just happen overnight, said Pam Richcreek of Catholic Charities. There are many months of planning involved in organizing one of the largest special outreach programs offered within the community. Many dedicated individuals from various organizations throughout the county come together as members of a collaborative effort known as the HALO Advisory Board and meet monthly, starting in January, to discuss how to take some of the burden off families and individuals who cannot afford anything extra outside their normal monthly budget during the holiday season, Richcreek said.

The HALO Advisory Board consists of the following agencies and individuals: Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County’s Pam Richcreek; Cynthia Kubitz; Jefferson coordinators May and Jack Howe, and Red Leonard; Head Start’s Debbie Budy and Kim Fleming; the Star Beacon’s Pam Harper; Action Academy’s Cheryl Longden; Conneaut Human Resources Center’s Renea Roach; Leadership Ashtabula County’s Debbi Waring ; and Ashtabula Senior Center’s Judy Witt.

“Through a grant received from the Ashtabula Foundation, as well as the many donations we receive from our community, we are able to provide a food voucher to one of many participating vendors throughout the county to help serve as the holiday meal, as well as the delivery of packaged food boxes for delivery to the homebound,” Richcreek said. “We are also able to provide a toy or gift to each child through age 17, which for some may be the only Christmas gift they receive.”

Applications to receive HALO assistance are taken between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30 at various sites across the county. A consolidated list of applications ensures that assistance is distributed widely without duplication. HALO eligibility is based on income and need. Individuals and families who fall at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty guidelines may qualify for assistance.

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