Tamonte Waller, 7, laughs as he makes a gingerbread house with Pastor
Chris Lockie of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Thursday morning
during a Christmas party at HALO in Racine. Photo by Gregory Shaver.
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RACINE — With help from many in the community, the Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization made sure the 17 children living at the city’s primary homeless shelter experienced Christmas.
A visit from Santa Claus, Christmas-themed craft projects and presents donated by the Racine Police Department were in store Thursday for families staying at the shelter, 2000 DeKoven Ave.
The Christmas party brings everyone in the shelter together, said Brenna Freeman, who has lived in the shelter with her three children for the past few months.
About 72 people currently live in the shelter, including 41 in the portion for women and children.
“It’s nice that they do this for the kids,” said Freeman, 33, “because they wouldn’t get to do that otherwise.”
Among the craft projects children enjoyed were building gingerbread houses, which was not by accident. Stephanie Kober, HALO’s family program director, said the gingerbread houses are included, in part, to get families excited about building a home together.
Community shows support
Kober said donations are a key part of HALO’s Christmas programming, which includes an Adopt-a-Family program to help families at the shelter during the holidays.
“The community of Racine during the holidays … really goes above and beyond for everyone,” Kober said.
Many of the supplies for this year’s Christmas party were donated by Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 4340 6 Mile Road, Caledonia.
Dena Guziewicz, a congregation member, said the church frequently looks for ways to help the community and jumped at the chance to help Halo’s Christmas party.
The event was also a good opportunity to bring her two daughters to Halo, she said.
“It’s a good way to show them what Christmas is about,” she said.