SALT LAKE CITY — Christmas is less than three weeks away, and a Utah program that helps adults with intellectual disabilities is scrambling to come up with enough presents.
For 14 years, the Utah Association for Intellectual Disabilities has put together holiday gift boxes for people who otherwise might not get any presents. But, UAID was hacked online last year, and suffered a setback in donations.
The UAID Holiday Gift Box program this year needs to wrap up gifts for 900 applicants. But, so far only 300 have been taken care of. With Christmas approaching quickly, UAID Is eager to pick up the pace of the wrapping.
“Our clients have down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, autism,“ said Kathy Scott who started the gift box program because adults with those intellectual disabilities are often overlooked.
“Many, many of these people didn’t get any Christmas,“ she said.
Many of their clients are adults who have the intellect of a child. And for those adults, on Christmas day…
“You’re going to see Christmas through the eyes of that 5-year-old,“ she said.
Even the smallest gifts matter: socks, underwear, coloring books with crayons. When they open those gift boxes on Christmas morning, “They are feeling loved and wanted.“
Michelle Bennett will get a gift box Christmas morning. But, she’s also helping warp gifts because it’s important to her.
“Wrapping presents for the people who can’t afford it,“ she said. “I would like to help others in need. My mom always taught me that I should think of others besides myself.”
“We are in need this year a lot more than we have been in previous years,“ said Robert Piece III with UAID.
Their website was hacked a year ago. The UAID identity was stolen, cutting off their collections of donations.
“We have not been able to get the donations that we normally get,“ said Pierce.
Their new website is UAIDUtah801.org.
To give wisely:
- Always make sure the charity is registered with the state.
- Know how your donation will be used.
- Ask for information about programs and services.