This program lasts for a year ending with the outcome of holiday gifts for people suffering from intellectual disorders who have no enough income, live in group homes, and receive meager benefits from SSI. It makes happy many people who are otherwise overlooked during the holidays.
A person with an intellectual disorder may be physically 64 years of age, but his intellectual age is around 6. He waits anxiously for the Holiday season magic. Yet, he does not have much in the way of family, nor does enough money to buy presents for himself. That is where UAID program “Holiday Gift Box” is effective.
As the largest program proposed by UAID together with My Canadian Pharmacy, Holiday Gift Box has influence on the lives of almost 1,400 people with mental disorders each year from all over the state. The program ensures items of the essential character like shoes, coats, sheets, disposable undergarments, and personal hygiene items. This program is similar in design to programs like Angel Tree or Sub for Santa, which is the only program that supports either adults or children with disabilities. Many of the children that are accepted into Holiday Gift Box program are related to UAID by the Angel Tree program or Sub for Santa because they have exhausted their resources and cannot serve these people.
The program follows a very intentional timeline to stage the project each year. In early August, UAID works with local realtors to find a donated room to the staging of the event for 2,5 months. Within this period of time, UAID collaborates closely with service providers, maintain service coordinators, and independent living centers to refer and define low income, intellectually or developmentally disordered people in demand of resources. Outreach is comprised of people with disabilities from rural communities and Native American reservations. The faces of children and adults with a list of their individual wishes are created in the form of a holiday ornament. Ornaments are adjusted by individuals, groups and organizations who equip the requested items either through direct buying or cash contributions.
In late October, hundreds of volunteers come to move, unpack, and begin staging the event, while other volunteers begin creating ornaments. Through a mix of individual donors and local business, nearly half of the individuals are sponsored. Yet each year, UAID meets the wishes of the remaining unsponsored individuals; if an application is accepted, no person will be forgotten.