PILSEN — An AT&T group is raising money for holiday gifts for Pilsen families with children and young adults who have developmental disabilities.
Hacemos, a Latino employee resource group with the telecommunications company, has launched a GoFundMe to provide gifts to families of Special Religious Development, or SPRED, based out of St. Pius V Catholic Church, 1901 S. Ashland Ave. in Pilsen.
For more than 13 years, Hacemos has volunteered and coordinated a Christmas gift drive for the program, which offers support and resources for the SPRED families, said Ramiro Nava, one of the organizers of the effort.
In past years, they’ve helped host wrapping parties and volunteered during holiday celebrations. But with in-person gatherings and annual Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations canceled due to coronavirus concerns, Nava said organizers had to adjust their planning.
“This year we had to think outside the box because of the pandemic,” Nava said. “We initially considered canceling the event but we wanted to help out even though they weren’t meeting.”
Nava said the group didn’t want to let those families go without something special this year. So they agreed on an online fundraiser to keep helping families and safeguard everyone’s health, Nava said. They have raised over $1,600 so far.
They hope to buy gifts for the children and young adults in the program as well as their siblings to ease the burden the pandemic has had on families, Nava said.
SPRED has been run out St. Pius V church in Pilsen for several decades. The program offers catechesis classes for various age groups, according to Armando Cuya, program coordinator.
The program helps create a community for the participants and the families, Cuya said, but they have not been able to meet during the pandemic and has had to cancel the annual events until at least January.
During the trying time, Hacemos member Doris Delgado said they wanted to step up to “help our communities.”
In going virtual, they wanted to make sure to “bring some holiday cheer,” Delgado said.
You can donate to the SPRED Christmas GoFundme here.
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