Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf joined representatives from the departments of Aging, Human Services, Labor & Industry, and Military and Veteran Affairs, and the Pennsylvania National Guard to support the 30th Annual Holiday Wish Program, which sends gifts to more than 900 people, including more than 200 families and 100 seniors across Pennsylvania.
“The generosity of the commonwealth’s employees will provide nearly 1,000 people with at least one gift this year,” Gov. Wolf said. “This is what the holidays in Pennsylvania are all about – sharing in the spirit of giving. I’m immensely proud of the selfless employees who have given so much to ensure their fellow Pennsylvanians know they are cared for this holiday season.”
The families and older adults sponsored for the Holiday Wish Program were identified by a senior citizen complex serving older adults in need and caseworkers at county assistance offices across the state. Holiday Wish families request a few gifts they need or would like to receive, and state employees sponsor a family or individual to ensure they receive special gifts during the holiday season. For example, some families identified a need for clothing, shoes, toys, a Christmas tree, or even a bed.
The Department of Labor & Industry also wrapped and donated 900 inspected toys that passed the department’s safety measures. Volunteer state employees and members from the Pennsylvania National Guard loaded hundreds of wrapped gifts into military vehicles and delivered them to participating county assistance offices for distribution to the families and individuals while children from a local child care provider sang carols and were visited by Santa. The Holiday Wish program was started in 1989 by a small group of employees from the Department of Human Services (DHS), known then as the Department of Public Welfare.
Over 30 years, it has grown to include hundreds of employees in several departments, allowing the program to reach thousands of individuals in need around Pennsylvania during the holiday season.
“The generosity from this small group of human services employees truly captures the essence of what we do every day – help Pennsylvanians access basic needs and achieve a better life,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller.
“We recognize the hardships and barriers that many of the people we serve face and hope these gifts are able to bring so much joy to the many seniors, families, and children selected across our commonwealth. It’s a privilege to represent the department today as we continue to make a difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians near and far 30 years later.”