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Human Services’ Holiday Help

Westport’s Human Services Department‘s work is never done.

Just a few days after caring for hundreds of Hurricane Sandy victims, the agency turns its attention to the holidays. As always, this is its busiest time of the year.

As many Westporters shop, cook, plan vacations and share gifts, hundreds of children, families and seniors wonder how they’ll cope.

Many turn to Human Services’ Holiday Giving Program.  It’s a great, confidential way for Westporters to provide gifts for kids — and ease the financial burden on entire families. Last year, 445 residents — including those served by Homes With Hope and the Westport Housing Authority — received holiday assistance. In the aftermath of Sandy, this year’s number is sure to rise.

“This unbelievable program enabled us as a family to breathe a little easier, knowing our child could have some fun and joy in life,” one grateful recipient wrote.

Another said:  “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.  It is a truly humbling experience.”

Contributions come from individuals, as well as garden and book clubs, scout troops, schools, churches and businesses. Donors and receivers are assured of confidentiality.

“Some of the most appreciated gifts are grocery and gas cards of any amount,” says Human Services director Barbara Butler. Also well received: gift cards to local stores.

Cash donations are always welcome. They allow Human Services staffers to buy last-minute gift cards for clients.

Cards and checks (made payable to “DHS Family Programs,” with “Holiday” on the memo line) can be mailed to Human Services, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport, CT 06880 at any time (the sooner the better, of course). They can also be dropped off in Town Hall Room 200 during business hours.

If you’d like to shop for a family’s actual gift request — in full or part — or for questions, contact Patty Haberstroh (; 203-341-1069).

Families needing extra support during the holidays should call 203-341-1050.

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