- Posted by Sarah Swiston
- On January 4, 2023
- chicago metropolitan area, Chicago suburbs, children services, children survivors dv, Christmas Gifts, Christmas Tree, Domestic Violence, domestic violence agency, domestic violence organization, donations, DV agency, DV Hospital Program, dv survivors, End Domestic Violence, family services, Holiday donations, Holiday Gifts, Holiday Store, Housing Programs, in-kind donations, independence, inspiration, non-profit, non-profit agencies, northwest chicago, Philanthropy, Resale Stores, Santa, Shelters, Thrift, volunteer domestic violence agency, WINGS, WINGS Program
Each year, WINGS Holiday Store provides survivors of domestic violence with gifts for themselves and their children. Through donations from the agency’s community of supporters, this year WINGS Holiday Store provided 1,364 gifts to 115 families and created special memories.
As survivors arrived to select their gifts, many special moments warmed the hearts of those present. As we start a new year filled with numerous challenges, we hope you can pause to feel the joy as well.
A Christmas Tree
At noon, a new Transitional Housing client came to pick up her gifts. She said she went to her storage unit to get her Christmas tree and realized she had two. WINGS Resale Stores weren’t accepting holiday items at the time. Only wanting to keep one tree, she had brought her second white Christmas tree with her to see if another client could use it.
All throughout the day, staff asked clients if they needed a tree.
At 4:00pm, Monica, a client utilizing WINGS Hospital Program, came through the door. Originally, scheduled to come at 11:00am, she had called earlier in the day to adjust her time to the afternoon. This minor time adjustment made all the difference.
When she saw the Christmas tree, she was thrilled and said:
“God has answered my prayers. My daughter has been asking me to get a tree and I told her I could not afford one…but here one is for us. I even was thinking if I could get a tree, it would be nice to have a white one. Our new place is gold, and (a) white (tree) would look nice. Thank you!!”
A recent WINGS graduate, Michelle came to pick up gifts with her young daughter Anastasia. When Anastasia saw Santa unexpectedly, her face was filled with pure joy.
“You Saved My Life”
One survivor came to pick up her family’s gifts mentioning that each time she comes to WINGS, she tears up. “You saved my life,” she shares.
Reflecting on 2022
Last fiscal year WINGS provided 107,110 nights of shelter and safe housing. This was the highest one-year total since the agency began in 1985 and represents a 65% increase over the previous year alone. WINGS brought in A New Direction into the agency’s community-based programs, continued to grow its Survivor Lifeline Mentoring program and expanded the number of Rapid Rehousing units for clients.
Beyond these numbers and outcomes, the above moments from our Holiday Store personalize WINGS impact with a face, a voice, and a heart.
We look forward to 2023 and the lives that will be changed for the better through the important work WINGS does each day.
We hope you will join us!