The Holidays Are In Full Effect At Heartland Alliance

The following appeared in Heartland Alliance’s December eNews. To subscribe to our eNews, click here.

The Holidays Are A Hit At Heartland Alliance

Throughout the month, participants, supporters, and employees have been celebrating the season together as we work to achieve Equity and Opportunity for All. Heartland Alliance arranged gatherings across the city to engage in festivities to make this time of year a little more enjoyable for those most vulnerable. The Adopt-A-Family and Stocking Stuffing programs were attended by countless corporate and individual volunteers, resulting in hundreds of gifts for our participants. Take a peek “behind-the-scenes.”

Adopt-A-Family gifts and Stocking Stuffers ready to make their way across Chicago.

Payline Data’s efforts were in support of the Deleon family who participates in our Freedom From Trafficking program. They purchased gifts for the newly reunited family including items such as gym shoes, coats, school supplies, and much-needed kitchenware.

For a decade, Jonathan Deleon was subject to working for unethical hospitality employers. Underpaid, scammed into unfair housing practices, and forced to work with the threat of losing his visa, Jonathan’s life with his family was put on hold indefinitely. “For 10 years, I worked through the holidays. To survive, I had to put that away in my mind. This year, I’m going to make it really special.” Read the full story here.

The Deleon family together again for the holidays.

Payline employees gather to share in the holiday spirit in support of the Deleon family and others.

Heartland Alliance also hosted a cheerful holiday party in the Bridgeport neighborhood in mid-December. Residents of Chicago’s public housing program gathered together with FamilyWorks staff to celebrate the holidays, enjoy local food, play bingo, and partake in a raffle. Kids enjoyed coloring activities, and staff set up a Christmas tree for family photos. Staff and residents expressed gratitude during the event for an opportunity to spend quality time together and support one another during the holidays.

Addressing Violence and Trauma Through Research and Direct Service

Earlier this year, Heartland Alliance released a research report that documented needs and gaps for survivors of domestic violence and highlighted a lack of services in communities of color and low-income communities, despite increasing need. The Domestic Violence Needs Assessment of Chicago noted that effectively addressing domestic violence in Chicago must include a commitment to ensuring equitable access to services for survivors, adequately funding programs, and continuing to support the city’s existing response system.

A collage created by a participant who was impacted by domestic violence.

Through our Violence Recovery Services program, Heartland Alliance is able to provide a continuum of services to children, adults, seniors and families who have been impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault or abuse, or community violence and trauma. Through various approaches, staff works to help those impacted heal. Click here to read more about this achieved through artistic expression.

A Record-breaking Holiday Brunch

What an incredibly powerful Holiday Brunch earlier this month. Thanks to our many generous supporters, we raised more than $350,000 – nearly a 50% increase over last year – making it the most successful Holiday Brunch in recent history! If you were unable to attend, check out the short video that was screened and event photos on the website. Thank you for making this year’s Brunch one to remember!