As the winter holiday’s begin to approach, so does the cooler weather of the season. When the temperature drops, we often bundle up in extra layers to keep ourselves warm. However, not all of our community is fortunate enough to have the clothing they need to combat the winter cold. That is why the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) is spending the last months of the year gathering donations to help keep those families in need cozy for the holidays.

“People ask why we do this every year,” said Charlie Orth, TASK coordinator in the office of Volunteer and Patron Services. “Some of our population is homeless, live in shelters and they have nowhere to keep a jacket or a sweater when the seasons change. There are no lockers at the shelters. So, it’s essential – if we want to keep them as healthy as possible – we have to collect every year.”

Each year, TASK and its team work together with Trenton’s giving community to provide a holiday gift of warm clothing and blankets to those in need.

“We want people to have a good holiday,” said Jaime Parker, Manager of Programs at TASK. “But our main goal, the whole reason we’re doing this, is for our regulars, for the people who really don’t have somebody who’s gonna give them a holiday season.”

Because TASK has an open door policy with no questions asked, they cannot say for certain how many individuals and families they support throughout the year. However, every holiday season, TASK makes hundreds of gift baskets, none of which are left without a home. Parker said, “We can estimate, like if we can get something in the neighborhood of like, anywhere between 200 and 400 of something, then we know that we have enough to either give to everybody who comes or most everybody.”

According to Parker, TASK tries to make all of their donations and holiday gifts as uniform as possible. This way, they are able to provide equal presents to all of their patrons.

TASK collects items such as sweaters, hand warmers, socks and blankets. “We look at what we have and if we can pull together 300 of them, then yeah, let’s throw it in the bag,” said Parker. “If it can be something that they can use, it’s usually appreciated.”

To maintain a true holiday gift, TASK asks that all donations be new items for recipients. “Although I’m sure people can clean out their closets and give us some very nice things, we prefer it to be new for the gift distribution,” said Parker. “There’s something nice about getting a new item as opposed to a used one.”

Due to COVID-19 health regulations, the winter holiday gift distribution this year will have to remain curbside. TASK will be coordinating the presents by size and gifting them accordingly.

As TASK gears up to create these winter gifts, they urge the Trenton community to either stop by and donate physical items or monetary donations. Anyway the City of Trenton can come together and help will be appreciated.

Parker said, “For them to just have a Christmas present is something that we take for granted like, ‘yeah, my mom buys me all this crap I don’t need,’ but just to even get something like a pair of socks, really means a lot to people.”

To learn more about Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and how you can help donate to this years winter holiday drive, please click HERE. 

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