Women in Service of Him to fulfill holiday wish lists for children in need

The local service group will partner with the Center For Family Services to sort gifts collected through the annual Holiday Gift Project

With the help of Women in Service of Him, a group of members and non-members based out of Trinity United Methodist Church, more than 2,000 children in need will receive toys through the Holiday Gift Project, organized by the Center For Family Services this Christmas season.

The congregation of approximately 30 women, who perform random acts of kindness and service projects throughout the year, led by Chairperson Toni Werner alongside Co-Chair Lisa Held, have held a variety of volunteer opportunities since its reinstitution in September. For example, the group provided baked goods and refreshments at this year’s Veteran’s Picnic, while they held a “Police Appreciation Day” for the East Greenwich Police Department in October in collaboration with the Samuel Mickle School Lunch Bunch and Kingsway Regional High School Renaissance Program. Additionally, in November, the group baked pies for five local families in need, while numerous volunteers visit with seniors once a week at the Mullica Hill Gardens.

“One of the things I’ve always taken to heart is ensuring this type of kindness and giving back is going on throughout the entire year,” Werner said. “The goal is to constantly be trying to spread volunteers who give some light and hope to someone else, and also perform service acts that really make a difference in our community.”

As the holidays near, WISH offered to contribute to the Center For Family Services’ Holiday Gift Project by buying gifts for children in need, as well as donating time to organizing and sorting the gifts collected throughout the weekend of Dec. 16, as well as during the week leading up to Christmas. According to Werner, the group has received commitment from more than 100 volunteers and has purchased more than 80 gifts for the cause.

“This time of year is very special, but can be a very hard time for kids with us if they are without their families, or if their families are facing some financial difficulties,” said Mary Beth Woodward, Center For Family Services communications manager. “To step in to make the season brighter, it’s a big impact for the children.”

According to Woodward, the Holiday Gift Project has grown significantly since its implementation approximately 15 years ago.

“As the organization has grown, a need has grown as well,” Woodward said.

Woodward said there are approximately 200 to 300 children living with the non-profit organization this holiday season, and the gifts collected will be distributed to the children and teens who are receiving services in one way or another.

According to Woodward, there is a “high need” for clothing, such as hoodies, pajamas and winter coats. For the older children, books and headphones are most requested, while the younger children have a high demand for educational toys.

A general wish list of gifts most needed and most wanted is available on the organization’s website, www.centerffs.org. Additionally, those interested have the opportunity to sponsor a child, or children, through the Holiday Wish Center, where individual wish lists can be found. Monetary donations are also accepted, as well as gift cards for teens and families served by the center. For more information, as well as a list of gift drop-off locations throughout the region, visit the “Holiday Gift Project” page at www.centerffs.org. Tangible gift donations will be accepted through Dec. 15; monetary contributions will be received through Dec. 22.

Those interested in learning more about WISH, or wish to volunteer with the group for the Holiday Gift Project, should email toniwerner14@yahoo.com, or call Werner at (856) 237–6794.