Written by Jimi Izrael
Christmas is a time for giving, and the UCC's Christmas Fund is a wonderful way to give a gift to those who have faithfully served the church and find themselves struggling with financial needs in retirement.
Formerly known as the Veterans of the Cross offering, The Christmas Fund is one of four all-church offerings and is administered by the Pension Boards.
The Christmas Fund provides Christmas gift checks to low-income, retired clergy and their widowed spouses. It also supplies emergency assistance and helps finance pension and health benefit supplementation for retired clergy and lay persons.
Last year, 331 emergency grants were distributed, and 664 retirees on small pensions received a $250 gift in their stockings, thanks to donations to The Christmas Fund.
To retirees on a pension, the current economic environment means paying higher bills with less income.
"Our concern is that [people] will see that there is a general outpouring to charities and relief organizations of all sorts, and think that donations to The Christmas Fund will not be needed," says Joan Brannick, executive vice president of the Pension Boards. "The truth is the need is greater now more than ever."
Contributions can be made through your local church, earmarked for The Christmas Fund, or mailed to The Christmas Fund, The Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 1020, NY, NY 10115.