This Christmas season the Family Resource Center on St. Thomas is collecting gifts for the first time to fulfill the Christmas wish lists of needy families in the community.
The FRC is a nonprofit that provides services and shelter for victims of crimes, including child abuse and sexual assault, on St. Thomas and St. John.
Vernon Araujo, director of development for the FRC, setup the wish list program after Kelley Olive from Fish Tails Bar and Grill contacted him to ask if his organization had such a program.
“We didn’t have anything like it and more people called asking about sponsoring wish lists that same day,” Araujo said. From there he reached out to his counselors to see if their clients would be interested in creating Christmas wish lists for their families.
Since the beginning of December, nine families’ wish lists have been sponsored by employees of local businesses, including Fish Tails Bar and Grill and Margaritaville Vacation Club.
“People aren’t really asking for toys or frivolous items. They just want everyday, regular things,” Araujo said. Most of the items on the wish lists are basic necessities like socks, undergarments, toothbrushes, kitchen utensils and toolkits.
“There’s lots of pride here in this community and people don’t want to accept charity or put anyone else out, but we’re hoping people will open up and be honest about what they need and put their pride aside at least for the kids,” Araujo added.
Araujo said the FRC plans to continue the wish list promotion next Christmas season with more gusto, since this year was its inauguration.
“I think buying gifts for a family in need each holiday season is a great way to start a new family tradition. Taking care of your neighbor is always a nice, hospitable gesture,” Araujo said.
The FRC is still excepting sponsors who are interested in shopping for family wish lists, though Christmas is right around the corner. If interested in becoming a sponsor, contact the FRC at 340-626-3729 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After receiving the wish lists, gifts can be dropped of at the FRC or at its car wash and bake sale on Saturday, Dec. 19 during the day at Yacht Haven Grand. Proceeds for this event will benefit the FRC and Island Vibes Summer Camp.