Christmas in July raises more than $60,000

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 8:41 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Christmas in July, a collaboration between the Christmas Connection and WCTV, has raised more than $60,000 to help families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Christmas in July raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay the rent and utilities of those struggling financially during this pandemic.

“We’re going to be able to help hundreds of families keep a roof over their head,” said Christmas Connection Coordinator Lisa Harvey. “I know it’s going to help these families, give them a little bit of relief, a little bit of peace and they can rest easy knowing the community cares about them.”

Catholic Charities, which runs the Christmas Connection, has been inundated with requests for help. As soon as the donations started coming in, families could start setting up appointments to try to get help.

"When people come to us they're in a desperate situation and a lot of times they're hopeless, they're scared," said Matthew Knee, CEO of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida. "To be able to be there for them and to at least lift the burden off of them for paying for a past due rent bill or utility or even a mortgage payment, it really takes a huge weight off their shoulders and you can see the difference."  

"It's not just about writing a check or paying somebody's past due rent," Knee said, "It's about giving them hope again, a renewed faith in humanity that there are people out there that are willing to help in times of need."

Thousands of dollars raised are already going back out the door to pay past due bills.

Some of the donations came with cards and letters and words of encouragement.

"Hoping things get better quickly for everyone in need," one of those letters said.

"The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Tallahassee and it's heartwarming to see it come to life in July as well as December," Harvey said, "but this was totally unexpected and we're so grateful that we're going to be able to help a lot of families with this money."

As of Friday, donations totaled $63,124.

That’s enough to help more than 80 families pay rent or more than 250 families pay their utilities.

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