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Santa Has His Elves. CGE Has Its Volunteers.

volunteer blog
Festive décor for this holiday season at The Center!

Santa has his elves and CGE, its volunteers. All are known for their hard work and dedication. Our volunteers make it possible for this season to indeed be “the most wonderful time of year” for clients and residents in all programs across CGE’s continuum of care.

Traditionally a time for giving, CGE volunteers generously share a priceless commodity—their time—during the In-Kind Office’s busiest time of year. We started putting together Holiday Wish Lists for clients back in September! Summer clothes and flip flops were barely packed away when a local church asked us about the holiday needs and wants of our residents.

Within a matter of weeks, we received similar end-of-year, giving-season requests from several local churches, individuals, businesses, community groups, Macy’s, Rutgers University and United Way.

volunteer blogIn our own little “workshop,” we prepared Amazon wish lists, Giving Tree tags and simple lists with gift ideas—ranging from a huge box of Cheez-Its to a new winter coat, while infant clothing and toddler toys topped the list for the little ones. Gift cards are always a favorite item and allow us to provide for an immediate need, such as a change in baby formula or a child’s larger shoe size. Volunteers will inventory gift cards; sort through huge bags of presents and open (and recycle!) lots and lots of boxes; organize, wrap and label everything and ensure our families receive their wished-for items. Other donations like clothing, sheets, towels and personal care items will be neatly shelved for use throughout the year.

volunteer blog
Chris Polacco in action at CGE!

In early November, CGE welcomed back a longtime volunteer—and his entire photography studio set up!—for a day of holiday portrait-taking of our moms and their children. For some, it’s the first-ever professional photograph taken of their child! Another avid supporter and volunteer shopped for and donated 8 x 10 photo frames for each family. Still another shows up the day after each Thanksgiving to hang lights along the roof line and porch railings of our residential houses.

We look forward to a return visit from Notre Dame alumni who will deliver and decorate Christmas trees—one for each porch of our Somerset residential houses. Board members have made plans for a festive holiday party and a visit from Santa. In mid-December religious education students will fill 65 stockings to share across all CGE programs! And then there are the generous volunteers who donate holiday lunches, delicious dinners, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies every year—all in an effort to bring some comfort and joy and peace to our residents during this special season of gratitude and giving.