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Local organizations helping those in need during the holiday season

With the holiday season coming up, many Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham residents have presents and holiday parties on their minds. Several organizations in the area, however, are busy at work this season to support the homeless community and people in need.

Inter-Faith Council

The Inter-Faith Council is a facility in Carrboro that aims to provide basic living necessities to people in need. Through the holidays, the IFC will provide housing, while also combatting food insecurity.

According to a 2015 press release on the IFC website, the organization's goals include providing resources such as shelter, food and services "through strong partnerships with volunteers, staff and those we serve."

The IFC's food program includes a food pantry and a community kitchen. The food pantry will deliver holiday meals to about 350 families in the community on Monday and throughout the week. 

They will deliver groceries to each family, providing a turkey for Thanksgiving and a ham for Christmas. 

Many religious congregations and other charitable organizations donate their time to work with the IFC. Together, these organizations in conjunction with the IFC provide food, gifts and other necessities that are on the organization’s wish list.

IFC provides multiple programs to accommodate those that they serve. There are residential programs for men and women, as well as a family shelter. 

“We’re pretty much full all the time," said Jackie Jenks, executive director of the IFC. "So we don’t really have anywhere to go in terms of going up in numbers.” 

They generally fill around 50 beds for men, over 10 for women and 10 family rooms. For the nights where it drops below forty degrees the shelters fill extra rooms.

St. Thomas More Church

St.Thomas More Church has donated goods to the IFC for their Thanksgiving Mass for over a decade. They have several initiatives of their own to help people in need, including Adopt-A-Family and Advent Giving Tree.

Director of Operations and Finance Carlos Lima said the Adopt a Family program was implemented around 15 to 20 years ago. The program allows the church's youth group to raise money for disadvantaged families. 

“For Christmas, both our youth groups at our church support families through the Adopt-A-Family program that the Catholic Charities in Durham put together," he said. 

The church started the Advent Giving Tree program three years ago. It allows for parishioners to buy gift cards from grocery or clothing stores to benefit needy families. These gift cards are distributed to needy families via Catholic Charities or the Inter-Faith Council and are sometimes delivered by the parishes themselves. 


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