Employees at WKYC Channel 3 pitched in to provide holiday gifts for displaced families from Puerto Rico who are now living in Cleveland.
WKYC partnered with Iglesia Nueva Vida, or New Life Church, which has established a program called “El Refugio” to help resettle these families into the Cleveland area.
Gifts were delivered to the church Thursday Dec. 21.
All during December, WKYC employees shopped to provide clothes, coats, microwaves, dishes, and other items on the families' wish/needs lists, while others donated cash to meet the needs of those being served by El Refugio.
The families receiving services from El Refugio are all former Puerto Rico residents who fled the island after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Most caught a flight to Cleveland carrying just what they could fit into a suitcase, and the church has been helping them get the items needed to establish a new life in Cleveland.
Microwaves, dishes, TVs, bedding and even a new bed (including mattress and box spring) were all given as gifts by WKYC employees, their families and friends.
In addition, employees purchased eight computer tablets, which many school-age children put as the first item on their Christmas wish list.
Many companies and community organizations offered help to make the giveaway a success.
WKYC thanks the following donors: The WalMarts in Parma, Strongsville, Medina and Steelyard Commons; Home Depot; JC Penney in Great Northern Mall; TJMaxx in Brooklyn; The Razor Company; Needs Cleveland; and Zoup!
Viewers can contribute as well. The staff at the church agrees that, for these families, getting furniture is their biggest need.
WKYC connected with the Cleveland Furniture Bank and arrangements have been made so that viewers can donate to pay the $100 fees on behalf of Puerto Rican families being served by the church.
For every 10 fees paid, the Furniture Bank will contribute one as well.
To make a tax-deductible donation, go to clevelandfurniturebank.org and click on DONATE and write in "Puerto Rican families"
You can also mail your check to: Cleveland Furniture Bank, 13360 Smith Road, Cleveland, Ohio, 44130.