Holiday Gits project results in 450 gifts bags!

Tikkun Ha-Ir Delivers Holiday Gifts to 450 Homeless Persons in 2016


The Jewish community gave generously in 2016 to make sure people in Milwaukee crisis shelters had holiday gifts this December! Tikkun Ha-Ir has coordinated the Holiday Gift Project for over 11 years, this year working in partnership with volunteers from synagogues, community

Reesa Gottschalk, THI Board member and Holiday Gift Project Chairperson in 2016
Reesa Gottschalk, THI Board member and Holiday Gift Project Chairperson in 2016

organizations, and individuals.


Through collections and donations, we distributed approximately 450 gift bags to adults and children in 10 shelters.  The gift bags held roughly 5 gifts for each adult and 8 for each child. Gifts included:

  • Outerwear such as hats, scarves, socks and mittens for the people most vulnerable to cold Wisconsin winds. Many of these items were hand knit by our community: special thanks to Chai Point resident Lilian Rakita and all the Knitters on a Roll!
  • Hoodies and pajamas to stay warm during the night
  • Books for babies, toddlers, new readers and older youth to feed kids’ imagination and build verbal skills. Special Thanks to Aviva Bergtrom for early-reader books
  • Toys for kids from birth to the teenage years since the holidays are a time for fun
  • Extra products for personal care, taking care of business, and expressing creativity, as well as candy, of course.


JCC Executive Director Mark Shapiro in the red suit and white beard and daughter Carlie entertain children at the Cathedral Center Friendship House

THI provided Giving Chanukiot to eight synagogues with paper candles with gift suggestions with the age and gender of the gift recipients. Congregation members took a candle, purchased the items and brought them to the synagogues’ gift collection bins. The gifts were then gathered and prepared for distribution.  A special thanks to Deborah O’Connor, Kira Berkoff, Cindy Cooper, Reenie Kavalar, Susan Ellman, and Susan Armour Sideman for efforts in making the Channukiot, sorting, and packing the gifts! We are especially appreciative of Project Chair Reesa Gottchalk’s hard work!


A very special component of the Holiday Gift Program is the Holiday Party and Santa visit at Cathedral Center.

Thank you to our Santa Shapiro and family, who delivered smiles and gifts this year to over 50 children, mothers and fathers on December 24 adding magic to the evening event.


The Jewish Community Center Chanukah Celebration provides an opportunity for Jewish children to help. This year, the youth filled festive bags with candy to make sure the holiday events had at least a spoonful of sugar. At Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid young people made sock cupcakes to include in children’s gift bags, and at Congregation Sinai, students help wrap toys.


We are especially grateful to Moshe Katz and ATID sock-cupckes-2016properties for donating a vacant apartment to store, sort and bag gifts for distribution. In addition, THI is grateful to Laura Emir for purchasing gift bags.  The bags kept items clean and safe while providing recipients with a good receptacle for laundry, personal use and transport for the new year. This was a truly community effort!

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