While the holiday season may be behind us, the joy continues on in many Westport homes. The Department of Human Services thanks the hundreds of donors who contributed to the Westport Holiday Giving Program as well as helping out at Thanksgiving time. Whether it was by purchasing the gift list for a single mom and child or a large family, donating toys, books, movie certificates, food baskets, turkeys or a gift card your generosity helped make this year one of the most successful ever for our own neighbors--despite the difficult economic climate.

Through the Holiday Giving Drive alone, 435 individuals, including 245 children, were served directly from this community support. This generosity is especially appreciated due to the increase in those needing assistance during this holiday season and the lingering effects of our economic downturn.

Specific thanks must go to each of our PTA's and their students for organizing their individual giving efforts, the Westport Woman's Club which purchased and mailed out food gift cards, holiday cards to nursing home residents and catered meals for those alone for the holidays, Goodwill Industries, the girls at Project Return who bought gifts for a young child, and First Night Westport which generously provided free admission buttons to welcome the New Year.

In addition, generous donations were received from Iridian Asset Management, Sterling Investment Partners, Athletic Shoe Factory, Silver of Westport, Groove Westport, the Westport/Weston Foundation, the Hurlbutt Foundation, Near and Far Aid, Assumption Church, Girl Scouts, Westport/Weston Family Y, The Rebecca Chusid Holiday Toy Drive, Coldwell Banker Riverside, Halstead Properties, Weichert Capital Properties, Service League of Boys (SLOBS), the Playschool at Staples and CES and KHS school staff members. In addition, over 146 individual community donors filled holiday gift lists. Once again, this entire program could not have happened without the tremendous effort of our holiday volunteer coordinators, elves Kathy Lehn and Madeline Saxonmeyer, who spent one week of their valuable time accepting, sorting and distributing gifts.

We fully recognize that the Holiday Program comes at perhaps the busiest time of year for all of us and that makes the efforts that much more wonderful. Thank you on behalf of those whose holidays were brightened because of you.

Barbara H. Butler, director

Westport Department

of Human Services