SPUR Holiday Cheer Drive deadline is Monday, Dec. 6

The Crawford family, volunteers and active community members, are supporting the 2021 Cheer drive. Photo by SPUR

SPUR is nearing its deadline for the Holiday Cheer Drive on Monday, Dec. 5 and needs of sponsors to help support 120 local children and adults who are currently experiencing homelessness in Lynn, Marblehead, Salem, and Swampscott.

The charitable organization is working closely with social workers involved in a catastrophic fire that left several families completely homeless just before Thanksgiving in Lynn.

SPUR works closely with school counselors, social workers, and other social service providers to give meaningful winter essentials that include winter boots and chargers to 547 recipients in need.

About half of the wish list left today belong to individuals that are 18 years of age or older.

“This year’s big takeaway, is that the number of adults experiencing homelessness we are supporting through the Holiday Cheer Drive has increased roughly by 50 percent.

“The reason for that is not because there’s a huge uptick in homelessness in our community, it’s because the number of services and the number of social service providers in our community have been able to reach out to more folks who are experiencing homelessness and provide them with meaningful support.

“So, this is a really critical part for helping those individuals build a bridge out of homelessness into safe permanent housing,” said Kim Nothnagel, director of Communications and Community Relations.

The bundles of cheer are unique to the recipients of the wish list that work closely with a social service provider to come up with a list of something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

Laurie Boggis, a SPUR volunteer veteran checking in gifts being dropped off last year.

The items in the wish list might seem small and inconsequential but Nothnagel said the requests are critical to the recipients.

“It’s more than just gifts. We are talking about warm winter boots that are keeping kids safe during a harsh snowy season. We are talking about, and you know this might seem silly, power banks and chargers for folks experiencing homelessness. That’s the key to staying in touch with the world, to staying in touch with the jobs, to staying in touch with housing services. While they may seem individually silly things, small things, to the people who receive that, all of these gifts are incredibly meaningful and important, and sponsors have an opportunity to really be a part of making a positive impact through fulling these wish lists,” said Nothnagel.

The deadline on Monday is to ensure SPUR can have all those gifts ready to go and in the hands of every one of the recipients before school vacation begins and before Christmas.

“We will keep working until the minute every single one of those kids and every single one of those people have the winter essentials that they need this holiday season,” said Nothnagel.

Tina Fox, a SPUR volunteer veteran captured in action, helping sort the Bundles of Cheer.

To sponsor a wish list please visit spurholidaycheer.com. If you can’t sponsor a wish list alone, SPUR suggests partnering with friends, family, or coworkers to sponsor a wish list together.

SPUR is also accepting financial contributions of any amount to help keep programs running and filling any unsponsored wish list at the end of the drive to make sure they bring holiday cheer to every one of those recipients.