Employees of The Peterman Group of Montgomeryville have made Christmas bountiful and joyful for two area needy families.
The insurance and risk management agency on Montgomery Avenue purchased and donated two carloads of gifts from the holiday wish list of two adopted families from nonprofit Community Housing Services in Lansdale's Holiday Sharing Program.
One family is a single mother with two daughters, and the second is a single dad with a daughter.
"Every year, we take up an employee collection," said Peterman Group employee Christin Costanzo. "Peterman Group matches the contributions."
This is the first year that Peterman Group has donated to Community Housing Services.
"They really know (employees) Suzanne and Joanne at Toys R Us now," joked employee Charlotte Bosler.
The staff of The Peterman Group gathered for a gift wrapping lunch on Monday and delivered the gifts to Lansdale United Methodist Church on Wednesday. The church serves as a drop-off and storage location for Community Housing's holiday sharing program.
"We have been doing this with Peterman Group for about 10 years," said Bosler. "I did this with another employer. Now that I'm with Peterman Group, we do the Christmas sharing in our office."
Jean Luna, donation coordinator at Community Housing Services, said there are about 300 families that apply for the holiday sharing program. Families are located in areas like Harleysville, Norristown and Hatfield. Luna said there have been a lot of new families in the program this year.
"We take care of the ones that didn't get picked, and fill what they need," Luna said. "We call them and they pick the gifts up. Everybody will get something this year."
Luna said the Christmas holiday sharing program is a success every year. She said it it were not for Toys for Tots, it may not be as successful.
"People cry because it is so overwhelming," she said. "Someone cares that much."
Luna asked for the community to keep Community Housing Services in prayer.
"We need financial donations," she said. "We have a lot of people that need support. Community Housing Services is a blessing."
Luna chose to volunteer at Community Housing because she understands the struggle of finding shelter and food.
"We didn't have this back then. I raised eight kids as a single parent, and they all went through high school and college," Luna said. "It was a struggle. I know first-hand what these families are going through. I've been there."
Community Housing Services began experiencing financial problems in late fall 2009 when it lost a major donor — North Penn United Way.
Community Housing Services is a full-service nonprofit housing agency founded in 1983 by Gloria Echols and started with a $34,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation.
It provides resources, crisis intervtion, and long-term housing solutions for the homeless and near homeless, victims of domestic violence and single displaced men.
To donate to Community Housing Services, contact them at (215) 362-5250 or visit 311 N. Broad St., Lansdale.