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Operation Holiday 2023 donors continue tradition of giving as need persists [Updated]

Every dollar in donations goes to help local families with food and children's gifts.

Giant employees and other volunteers pack food boxes at Helping Harvest, 117 Morgan Drive, Spring Township.  (BILL UHRICH -READING EAGLE)
Giant employees and other volunteers pack food boxes at Helping Harvest, 117 Morgan Drive, Spring Township. (BILL UHRICH -READING EAGLE)

Operation Holiday was started in 1991 at The Mercury in Pottstown to help families going through tough times provide something for their children during the holidays. The mission of the program is to make sure there is food on the table and gifts under the tree when Christmas morning comes.

Now in its 33rd year, the program has served thousands of families throughout Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties, expanding its reach in recent years to include communities served by Reading Eagle, The Times Herald, The Reporter, and Daily Local News.

More than $91,000 in donations last year provided food and gifts for 451 children and 199 families, plus cash donations to food pantries in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties.

This year, Operation Holiday has partnered with 19 agencies in the tri-county area. Agencies have referred 165 families with 419 children for gifts and food. There is no overhead with Operation Holiday and all funds stay local. Funds are collected and audited in a nonprofit foundation account managed by staff of MediaNews Group who volunteer their time.

Gift cards to area grocery stores are provided to each family for food, so that they can purchase the fixings for a holiday dinner as well as staples for the pantry. Weis Markets is a partner with Operation Holiday and has assisted with food purchases and gift cards.

Gift cards for every child in the program 16 years of age or younger are purchased through Boscov’s and distributed in partnership with the referring agencies so that families can purchase gifts of their choice.

Operation Holiday does not accept families who have not been referred by an agency.

Operation Holiday is funded solely by reader contributions. All contributions are tax-deductible.

How to donate

Online donations are being accepted in a secure portal in partnership with TriCounty Community Network. .

Contributions can be mailed with checks payable to Operation Holiday to PO Box 1181, Pottstown PA 19464; The Reporter, 307 Derstine Ave., Lansdale PA 19446; Operation Holiday, 1440 Lacrosse Ave., Reading, PA 19607.

The names of all contributors are published in the participating newspapers as donations are received. Please note whether a contribution should be designated as anonymous or given in tribute or in memory of someone.

Thank you donors!

Operation Holiday stories

Editorial: Thank you to our readers for giving to Operation Holiday

Operation Holiday’s helping hands: Volunteers make local giving programs work

Operation Holiday: Single mother struggles with balancing work, caring for son with life-threatening illness

Operation Holiday: Mom of five in dire financial straits after escaping abusive husband

Operation Holiday: Woman escaping the grip of domestic violence

Operation Holiday: Father of 2 struggling with finances following long unemployment

Operation Holiday: Single mother struggles with grandmother’s death, child’s health issues

Operation Holiday: Homeownership brings financial hardship for family

Operation Holiday: Single mom striving to give her kids a merry Christmas

Operation Holiday: Mother of 5 trying to keep up amid holiday season

Operation Holiday: Struggling single mom just wants her children to be happy

Operation Holiday: Father battles skin cancer as he works to provide for his family

Operation Holiday: Bouts of unemployment leave family struggling with bills, putting food on the table

Operation Holiday: Job loss comes at the worst time for single mother

OPERATION HOLIDAY: Breast cancer sidelines single mom with 6 kids

Operation Holiday: ‘Grandma Claus’ tries to make things ‘merry and bright’ for family

Operation Holiday: Part-time work not enough to pay family’s bills

Operation Holiday: Working dad on disability will try to make things good for children

Operation Holiday: War in Ukraine felt at home in Chester County

Operation Holiday: Mother of four looking forward to Christmas

Operation Holiday: Grandmom caring for child with special needs anticipates a nice holiday season

Newly single mom balances bills, illness

Operation Holiday: Parents of young girl struggle to make groceries last the month

Operation Holiday: Grandmother with disability happy to be home holidays

Operation Holiday: Woman worried about giving her young cousin a happy holiday

Operation Holiday: Mom on new path after losing job

Operation Holiday: Single mom is on way to turning life around thanks to nonprofit

Operation Holiday: Single mom of 9 hurting from post-COVID price hikes

Operation Holiday: A string of bad luck for family leads to hardship

Operation Holiday: Mom of 2 hopes for happy holidays after struggles

Need for food remains at record levels in the region