OPEN M will once again open its doors for the “Christmas for the Love of Children” program, Wednesday, Dec. 19. Each year, OPEN M partners with the Akron Public Schools counselors to identify the most in-need families within the district. This year, over 580 children in nearly 200 different families were identified through APS, as well as OPEN M’s internal programing.
The “Christmas for the Love of Children” program is fully funded by individuals and groups throughout the Akron and Summit County region. Each family selected fills out an extensive application, which covers everything from the children’s favorite colors to most wanted toys and clothing sizes. The families are then distributed to the private sponsors that OPEN M obtains and the shopping begins.
Each child is provided $50 worth of gifts from their list: a brand new set of school supplies for the second half of the year; stocking stuffers that the parents pick from the free tables at OPEN M on distribution day and even wrapping paper; brand new pajamas from the “Pajama Ladies”, Lisa Becker & Mary Rinaldi; and each family also receives a box of food from OPEN M’s pantry with everything the family needs for Christmas dinner, including the turkey.
Each family’s Christmas Food Box is fully packed with everything they will need to prepare a full dinner for their families with all the trimmings, turkey and even cookies to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve. Individual OPEN M partner churches and businesses collected over 200 items a piece that are dropped off and assembled to create a food box that tips out over 100 pounds.
Those interested in volunteering for future events or programs may visit openm.org/volunteer/.