Christmas was always a favorite time of year for Dara Whitley, growing up she knew the presents she asked for would find their way under her family’s tree. She had a fortunate upbringing and knew her parents bent over backwards to ensure she and her siblings had whatever they asked for.
For many families in the area, Christmas does not come with the same fond memories and blessings Dara experienced. There is no guarantee of gifts under a tree, or a warm place to sleep and a hot meal. How could she make a difference?
Dara is no stranger to giving back, she had been volunteering in the community for years as part of a school requirement. But after graduating, she realized she needed to make more of an effort to continue helping those in need. Living in Washington DC there is no shortage of people in need, this region is home to thousands of poor and vulnerable residents facing challenges every day.
Through a friend, Dara found Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and the Angel Tree program. Knowing that not every child experiences the same childhood she did, Dara knew this was a program she wanted to support. It was also a way to share some of the joy and blessings she received with those less fortunate.
For the last two years, Dara and her fiancé have done more than just choose a deserving child to give a gift, they also volunteer to accept and sort gifts brought to Catholic Charities for the Angel Tree program. Seeing the excitement of the community as they bring carefully selected gifts for some of the most deserving children in the region brings back some of that Christmas magic for Dara.
The Angel Tree program is just one example of the many ways Catholic Charities serves the community. They deliver lifesaving programs and services to individuals and families year-round, through 58 programs in 36 locations throughout Washington DC and Montgomery, Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles, and St, Mary’s counties in Maryland.
Catholic Charities is here to serve those most in need regardless of social, economic, or religious background. Offering legal services, food assistance, healthcare, housing and shelter programs, immigrant and refugee services, job training, emergency help, and much more Catholic Charities has been doing this work for more than 80 years, serving those most vulnerable in the community.
Like Dara, you can give back by supporting the vital work of Catholic Charities. Designate Catholic Charities DC for your United Way (#8054) or Combined Federal Contribution (#83997). The needs of those most vulnerable continue beyond the holiday season, your gift will help inspire hope and build futures.