Project Self-Sufficiency is sponsoring a program to provide low-income families with Christmas dinner.
As part of the Huntington Beach-based program, community groups, individuals, churches and others "adopt" a family and provide all the makings of a Christmas dinner.
The agency, which assists low-income, single-parent families, mounted a similar effort for Thanksgiving and delivered food baskets to more than 120 families in the area.
Project Self-Sufficiency was started in 1985 as a partnership between the public and private sector. Aided by federal funds, the project offers assistance to families that ranges from partial rent subsidies to coordinating education plans.
All parents in the program must be highly motivated to achieve self-sufficiency through job training or education, said program director Susan Edwards.
A single parent with one child cannot afford to buy Christmas presents or provide a holiday feast for the family, she said.
"Once she finishes paying rent and utilities, she still has to feed her children, and there just isn't enough money. So the community steps in and provides the little extra to make the holidays cheerful," Edwards said.
Even with donations of food and gifts, holidays among the poor are a humble affair.
"We have the Chamber of Commerce donating gifts, but even with their efforts there is only one gift per child," Edwards said.
In addition to helping families in the program, Edwards gets referrals from the Police Department and crisis hot lines.
"There does seem to be more people in need every year," she said.
Anyone wanting to adopt a family can call the Project Self-Sufficiency office at (714) 536-5439.