COVID-19 Dampens Annual Christmas Tradition – 240 Children Still Left Out

Central Union Mission



Contact: Deborah Chambers

VP, Development and Partnerships
Cell: 202-534-9965

COVID-19 Dampens Annual Christmas Tradition

240 Children Still Left Out



Washington, DC—December 8, 2020—Giving Christmas gifts to needy children is a Central Union Mission tradition that goes back to at least 1925 with First Lady Grace Coolidge. Unfortunately, only about half of our regular Operation Christmas Miracle children will receive gifts from the Mission this year due to COVID-19.

Hundreds of children may go without Christmas gifts this year because the Mission’s gift sponsorships are down. In the past, the Mission gratefully relied on donations from offices, churches and other groups, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, many are now working and meeting online, which has reduced efforts such as these toy collections. That’s tragic when now, more than ever before, the parents of poor children need support.


The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the families that participate at the Family Ministry Center, with parents experiencing unemployment or reduced hours and income. Grandparents raising their grandchildren are struggling to provide food and clothing, as well as appropriate conditions for online schooling.

According to Mission President & CEO Joe Mettimano, “Stressed DC families have been relying on Christmas gifts from the Mission for nearly 100 years. With all of the other setbacks and disappointments during 2020, it will be heartbreaking for these needy kids to have yet another sad experience. We’re hoping that our caring community will step in with extra donations so we can help children experience firsthand the kindness they need to model in their own lives.”

Every child should be included at Christmas, but we can’t do it without you. Please visit Operation Christmas Miracle for donation opportunities and low-cost ways to help. Kindly bring your donations by December 16th, 2020, to the Family Ministry Center at 3194 Bladensburg Rd., NE, Suite B, Washington, DC 20018. Drop off hours are 7:30 am-4:00 pm, Mon-Fri. (Driveway is between the Popeye’s and Auto Collision Center)

The Operation Christmas Miracle gift distribution will take place outdoors in small groups over several days and is scheduled for December 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Family Ministry Center (3194-B Bladensburg Rd., NE, Washington, DC 20018.)

To coordinate socially distanced interviews with families affected by the coronavirus pandemic or Mission President & CEO Joseph Mettimano or to attend the Operation Christmas Miracle distribution, please contact please contact Rev. Deborah Chambers at 202-534-9965 or

About Central Union Mission:

Central Union Mission is a faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the oldest private social service agency in Washington, DC. In addition to its emergency shelter, which provides more than 60,000 bed-nights each year, the Mission operates holistic, Christ-centered transformation and workforce development programs for men, provides benefits for veterans, helps people overcome addictions, operates a food and clothing distribution center which provides food for over 4,000 people each month, runs a camp for underprivileged children, and offers a ministry to families and senior citizens. Charity Navigator has rated Central Union Mission a three-star charity, GuideStar awarded Central Union Mission a Gold Seal for our financial transparency and GreatNonProfits has given Central Union Mission a Top-Rated award.


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