Hundreds of schools, churches, businesses, and community volunteers participate in MEND’s annual holiday program. Each family is home-visited to assess needs and the most needy are recommended for adoption by community groups who provide household items and extra gifts. The remaining families – who meet federal poverty guidelines – come to the MEND Center on assigned days in December to select a new gift/toy for their children, receive new blankets and generous boxes of food for Christmas dinner. In 2016, MEND served approximately 1,300 families, helping over 4,800 individuals. Several hundred corporations, schools, churches and community groups conducted food, toy and blanket drives for the program.
To get involved, volunteer or learn more, visit the Christmas Basket Program page.
Every August, approximately 200 third graders from a local elementary school start the school year off with new shoes, backpacks and school supplies at the MEND Center. This annual back-to-school event also provides free dental screenings, flouride treatments and vision exams with the help of volunteer medical professionals and Disney VoluntEARS.