Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Volunteers Make Christmas Connections A Success

Published December 24, 2009

On Saturday, Dec. 19, community leaders welcomed youth volunteers from St. Pius X High School and Transfiguration Church who came to play with the children and organized hundreds of gifts for Catholic Charities’ Christmas Connections project.

More than 250 families received gifts as part of the activities that included Mass, lunch, games and photos with Santa as four churches and three schools helped make the holidays more special for struggling families.

Father Rafael Castano said, “Thanks to Catholic Charities for the collaboration on behalf of the St. Bernadette community. The children and families had a great time.”

Leonardo Jaramillo, an event organizer, said it was a “boost for the community,” which has suffered from the economic downturn.

The project got underway in September when parish coordinators Tom Bickes, Jill and Jim Owen, Gene Rice and Felix deGolian organized donors to purchase items from the families’ wish lists. Other coordinators were Tom and May May Bickes, parish coordinators at St. Brigid Church, Alpharetta. Tom and May May have made the effort part of their family’s Christmas for the past 20 years. “We are glad that we were able to bring students up here to help with the Christmas distribution, so they could meet the children who benefit,” she said.

This year, four donor parishes and three archdiocesan schools participated in the project: St. Brigid, the Cathedral of Christ the King, and St. Jude parishes, and Our Lady of the Assumption, Immaculate Heart of Mary and Holy Redeemer schools.

Joseph Krygiel, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities Atlanta, said, “We are so grateful to the people who continue this tradition of charity that touches the lives of people in need.”

Earlier in the month, Christmas Connection distributions were made at Catholic Charities’ DeKalb area and Midtown offices, with St. Anthony’s St. Vincent de Paul Conference in West End, and to refugee communities in Clarkston, Avondale Estates, Decatur, Chamblee, Morrow and College Park.