This assistance is especially significant at a time when many families are feeling the effects of the economic downturn. Some have had to turn to public assistance programs for the first time and local homeless shelters are at capacity.
“Christmas In July” activities culminate in a day of entertainment, games, food and gifts that provide homeless children, from infants to age 19, with new clothing, socks, shoes and underwear. School-aged children also receive school supplies for the upcoming school year.
This is all made possible through the generosity of residents and county employees.
“I encourage everyone to donate to this worthwhile cause, realizing that you're making a big difference in the lives of children who frequently must do without,” Mayor Sue Gunzburger said.
Collection boxes, located at select county facilities and at all Broward County libraries, will remain in place through Friday, July 1.
The following are suggested items for donation: pants/slacks/shorts; skirts/dresses; shirts/blouses; shoes and socks; undergarments; diapers/wipes/baby clothing; school supplies; and books Only new items should be donated and they may be for girls or boys.
The number of children helped by “Christmas In July” has grown annually, to 7,500 since its inception in 2002.
“I recently heard a staggering statistic. More than 2,000 students enrolled in Broward County public schools list an area homeless shelter as their home address,” said Celia Earle, chairwoman of Christmas In July. “These children have become homeless through no fault of their own. They need our help. that's why Christmas In July exists.”
Kiwanis Divisions 23 and 24 are also reaching out to the community for financial and in-kind support for the program. Those interested are asked to contact Donna Grace, Christmas In July co-chairwoman, at 954-757-3950 or 954-646-4943.
In addition to libraries, collection boxes are located at the following Broward County facilities:
Downtown Governmental Center
115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Government Center West
1 N. University Drive, Plantation
201 S.E. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale
North Regional County Courthouse
1600 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach
South Regional County Courthouse
3550 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
West Regional County Courthouse
100 N. Pine Island Road, Plantation
Water and Wastewater Services
2555 W. Copans Road, Pompano Beach
1850 Eller Drive, Fort Lauderdale
100 Aviation Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Child Care Licensing & Enforcement
2995 N. Dixie Highway, Fort Lauderdale