Making Holidays Brighter

Portage Community Center
Portage Community Center Executive Director Chris Buckley talks about holiday programming at United Way's Nov. 13 Pop Up Giving event.

Holiday preparation is in full swing at the Portage Community Center.

Over the next few weeks, staff and volunteers will distribute 63 food baskets, hand out donated gifts to 89 adopted families and celebrate with 114 children at the annual holiday party. They’ve already delivered 124 Thanksgiving baskets.

“It’s a very busy time right now,” said Chris Buckley, Executive Director at PCC.

This time of year may be especially busy, but PCC works all year to assist Portage residents in need of food, clothing, transportation, medication and other basic needs. Services provided include a food pantry, transportation assistance, free legal clinics, immunizations, tax preparation, after-school programming and more. It is a United Way partner agency, funded under Education for its youth programming, and under Basic Needs for the Emergency Assistance Program.

PCC is a recent winner of United Way’s Pop Up Giving event on November 13 at Wax Wings Brewing Co., earning $2,000 to put toward holiday programming. Buckley said the money will be used to supplement the food baskets with essentials not received through donations, as well as purchase supplies for the children’s party and personal items for them such as hats and mittens.

“We really enjoyed Pop Up Giving,” Buckley said. “It was a great way to get out and share our story.”

Intake and registration for holiday programming is now closed, and toy donations are no longer being accepted, as families are coming this week to pick up gifts.

Food donations, however, will be accepted until Friday. Most-needed items include canned vegetables, instant potatoes, stuffing, cake mix and canned sweet potatoes.

If you’re interested in volunteering to prepare food baskets, please contact PCC at (269) 323-1942.

You can help

Consider a donation to United Way’s Basic Needs Impact area this holiday season to help ensure that more families have enough to eat and a place to sleep this winter.