(Macomb, Illinois, September 27, 2021) – With the holiday season only three months away, the elves at Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency (WIRC-CAA) are getting ready for the agency’s longstanding Project Santa program.
Since 1983, the mission of Project Santa has been to provide a happy holiday full of gifts, food, and clothing to children of income-eligible families in the western Illinois counties of Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, and Warren. Approximately $100 is spent on each child, which includes toys and clothing. In addition, each family enrolled in the program gets a holiday meal to prepare at home. In 2020, nearly 500 children were assisted by the program.
WIRC-CAA Public Relations Manager Jamie Roth said Project Santa aims to give children a sense of security and grow their giving spirit. “A few years ago, we helped a little girl who was more excited about getting a new winter coat than her toys,” said Roth. “That little girl was not an isolated case; other children have been excited about having their own blankets and shoes. The children we help, and their parents, are often worrying about things that many of us take for granted.”
To qualify, each household must meet the following criteria: the family did not receive Project Santa in 2019 or 2020; the family lives in Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, or Warren County; the household is not enrolled in a similar program offered by another organization; and the household’s gross monthly income is at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines.
The 2021 income guidelines are as follows: $2,147 for a one-person household; $2,903 for a two-person household; $3,660 for a three-person household; $4,417 for a four-person household; $5,174 for a five-person household; and for households of six people or more, add $757 for each additional household member.
The deadline to apply for full consideration is Friday, October 8, 2021. To apply for Project Santa, visit https://wirpc.org/projectsanta/ or call WIRC-CAA at 309-837-2997 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Applicants will receive a letter from the agency in mid-October about the status of their application.
The agency is taking extra precautions out of concern for the safety of all those involved in the program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, the gifts will not be wrapped and Santa Claus will not be able to meet the children. Instead, each family will pick up their child’s unwrapped gifts at a designated date/time and will be given wrapping supplies to take home.
While Project Santa is partially funded by the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, it relies heavily on donations from the public. Members of the public can support this program in several ways: make a monetary donation; sponsor a child; volunteer their time to shop with the Project Santa team; or donate wrapping supplies or toys. To make a monetary donation, visit https://wirpc.org/projectsanta/ or mail to WIRC-CAA, 133 West Jackson Street, Macomb, IL 61455. To volunteer, sponsor a child, or donate supplies, call WIRC-CAA at 309-837-2997.
WIRC-CAA is a multifaceted organization based in Macomb, Illinois, that offers social services programs throughout several counties in western Illinois. Some of the agency’s programs include a food pantry, clothing center, energy assistance program, scholarships, Project Santa, and more. The agency also provides counseling and advocacy services for survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence through its Victim Services department. For more information about WIRC-CAA, call their office at 309-837-2997.