WESTPORT — It’s called Thanksgiving for a reason.

And the organizers of the town’s Holiday Giving Program hope town residents are in a giving mood to help fellow Westporters this year.

The annual program, sponsored by the town Department of Human Services, is designed to meet a range of holiday needs for income-eligible Westport families.

“Approximately 100 families with school-aged children benefit annually from the income-based assistance program,” Elaine Daignault, the DHS director, said in a press statement.

Post-COVID pandemic, with the rise in food, shelter and fuel costs, “many Westport families are under enormous stress to maintain employment and cover their basic food and housing needs,” according to the DHS statement.

Gift cards and cash donations are accepted and matched with families to buy food and holiday gifts for their children, said Annette D’Augelli, the department’s family program coordinator. One-hundred percent of those donations go to families who qualify for financial assistance throughout the year, officials said.

Donations can be made online by clicking here; by visiting the DHS office in Town Hall, or by mail at Westport Department of Human Services, Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport, CT 06880.

“We are seeing more working families who are struggling to meet their family’s needs. Many households work multiple jobs and stretch their incomes to cover basic needs like food, clothing, and childcare,” D’Augelli said in the statement.

“This program allows parents to purchase gifts, new clothes and food for the holidays,” she added.

Westporters seeking assistance should contact the Department of Human Services by calling 203-341-1050 or emailing humansrv@westportct.gov for confidential help. 

For questions about the Holiday Giving Program, call D’Augelli at 203-341-1183 or email adaugelli@westportct.gov.