Thanksgiving begins the holiday tradition of the Westport Woman's Club helping to make a nicer holiday for others in the community. Members fundraise throughout the year to prepare for their annual holiday caring programs. The Westport Department of Human Services gratefully acknowledges the Westport Woman's Club contributions of grocery gift cards mailed twice this fall to 172 Westport households for the Thanksgiving and December holidays.

Because of the caring and generosity of the Westport Woman's Club, 438 Westporters had a nicer holiday dinner. These households, known only to the social work staff of the Human Services Department, received a total of $9,600 worth of grocery gift cards the week before the holidays to help them prepare festive family dinners. Recent economic conditions have challenged these households making it financially difficult to prepare a holiday meal. Thanks to the gift cards provided by the Westport Woman's Club, these families were able to enjoy the holidays. These two special food gift card mailings are in addition to the year-round financial and charitable support that the Woman's Club provides by provisioning and maintaining the Food Closet, through which local families in need are provided with bags of non-perishable groceries along with food gift cards to purchase perishable food items.

The Woman's Club also mails holiday greeting cards to Westport patients in area nursing homes and the area hospitals in November and December. These cards are often displayed in patient rooms as a caring reminder of being remembered especially during the holidays.

The third holiday program the Woman's Club coordinates and financially underwrites is the delivery of wonderful home-delivered catered meals on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Days. These meals are cheerfully delivered by the family and friends of Jeanne and Jack Klinge to homebound seniors who otherwise would not enjoy a holiday dinner. The Caterers who exceeded their charge and abundantly provided for more than their usual complete dinner meals this year were the Westport Diner, thanks to Dimitri Alatakis for 32 New Year's Day meals; the Wild Pear, thanks to Dave Freije for 28 Christmas Day meals; and In Good Taste, thanks to Cris Negrin for 24 Thanksgiving Day meals.

The Westport Department of Human Services wishes to gratefully acknowledge and commend the Westport Woman's Club for its consistent and thoughtful commitment of personal time and financial support to make a valuable difference in our community. The Woman's Club truly makes Westport a better, special and caring community.

Teresa Giegengack

Asst. director, client services

Westport Department

of Human Services