Madison House broadens
scope of sharing program
by Jenny Gerow
stuff boxes with toys, food and other gifts for area families
being sponsored through the Madison House Holiday Sharing
By Matt Kelly
remain generous this holiday season, judging by donations to Madison
Houses Holiday Sharing Program.
campaign, which for more than 20 years has been matching underprivileged
local families with donors of food and gifts, will help 95 families
this year. Ten of those are migrant farm workers, and Madison
House executive director Cindy Fredrick said providing aid to
migrant workers was a chance to broaden the scope of the centers
the legal migrants dont come into town seeking help that
much, she said.
the Holiday Sharing Campaign, donors put together food baskets
enough food for four people for three days and gifts
for Christmas. Fredrick said the gift packages are balanced so
everyone in the family gets something, and the children receive
approximately the same number of items. Suggested gifts for adults
include many practical items such as gloves, hats, cooking utensils
The students noted how many families were requesting bicycles,
she said. So they got people to donate about 25 bicycles.
said 75 of the donors are affiliated with the University this
year. This includes departments, individuals, student organizations
and families of students.
are more families in need this year, Fredrick said, and more will
call as the holidays get nearer. Madison House, which is a volunteer
organization, works through social service agencies, such as the
Salvation Army, that supply the names of the needy families. To
qualify for assistance, the families must live below the poverty
line and meet other criteria.
not a social service agency, so we cant verify incomes and
determine eligibility, Fredrick said. And for the
migrants, filling out social services applications can be a daunting
Salvation Army supplied the names of most of the families this
year, but the Albemarle County Migrant Education Program also
suggested 10 migrant families that needed help.
were 46 student volunteers this year working on the project, out
of Madison Houses 3,000 volunteers. Among the volunteers
jobs is determining that each package is adequate to meet a familys
needs; if more is needed, some supplemental shopping may be required.
student, Karen Eckmann of Ohio, stayed in Charlottesville over
the Thanksgiving break to inventory donation boxes with her family,
who drove in from the Midwest to help her.
student volunteers get a feeling of giving back to the community
and making someones holiday better, Fredrick said.