LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — The Adopt A Single Mom project is now in its sixth season, taking nominations of hard-working single mothers and providing them with gifts for Christmas morning.
"Largest philanthropic outreach of the year is what we're doing right now — our Christmas gift drive. It's very unique. We gift the mom. We're not a toy drive to gift the children," said Donna Nelson, who started the project after her own experience as a single parent.
"It's so common, and it's not something that we talk about, right? It was part of my own story with my son when he was young, you know, asking Santa why there wasn't anything under the tree for me. And I hear that so often from single moms, where they spend their own money to make sure there's something under the tree or where their kids were, like upset that she didn't have something."
Each year the project grows. Last year, 185 mothers were given gifts. This year the goal is to raise enough money to supply gifts for 200 moms.
"The counties that we represent are Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wyoming, Susquehanna, Pike, and Monroe, and we already have nominations from all seven of those counties."
Nelson says hearing stories of struggling mothers is never easy, but this year has been particularly rough.
"The moms who've been nominated this here are having a lot of health issues. The panic is not just from the pandemic but from being in a recession. You know, a lot are struggling financially with the cost of things. And really more this year than ever, we're hearing moms say, 'It's really hard getting my kids presents this year,' even though it's not uncommon for single moms to skip bills. Or, you know, kind of steal from Peter to pay Paul, so her kids have presents under the tree. This year, it seems a lot harder."
This Giving Tuesday and holiday season, Nelson hopes for help, whether in the form of a donation or volunteering.
"This is our way of supporting these moms who are doing it alone, often having so many challenges in their lives," Nelson added.
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