'Tis the season for Trees of Sharing

Union Gospel Mission in Coeur d'Alene helps about 35 women and 25 children in Kootenai County

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JoAnn Zajicek, director of the Union Gospel Mission Center for Women and Children in Coeur d'Alene, stands next to a Tree of Sharing. The ornaments list desired gifts from women at the center.

Christmas morning at the Union Gospel Mission in Coeur d'Alene will be filled with joy, laughter and love as presents are opened by women overcoming incredible challenges.

The gifts are from community members who opened their hearts and bought robes, pajamas, loungewear, slippers and other household items.

“Last year our ladies were in awe and they wept,” said JoAnn Zajicek, director of the Union Gospel Mission Center for Women and Children in Coeur d'Alene. The center helps women overcome poverty, addiction and abuse.

“Many of them said they had never had such a nice Christmas and that they felt so loved. They were overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.”

People who want to help should visit the Tree of Sharing in the lobby of the Union Gospel Mission at 196 W. Haycraft in Coeur d'Alene. They can pick up ornaments with specific gift wishes listed on them and bring in the gifts before Christmas, or they can donate $10 gift cards from local retailers and restaurants.

Local businesses can also support the Union Gospel Mission by picking up an 18-inch decorated Tree of Sharing and displaying it in their business so their customers can provide specific gifts listed on the ornaments.

About 35 women and 25 children from North Idaho are attempting to reboot their lives at the center through an 18-24 month, faith-based program that includes counseling, education and life skills training.

The Coeur d'Alene center serves as part of a network helping women with every aspect of recovery, collaborating with other local resources such as Heritage Health, ICARE and child welfare services. It provides women and their children with food, shelter and clothing. Residents receive one-on-one and group therapy, plus Bible studies and life skills classes. The center helps women earn their GEDs and receive vocational training.

Since 1951, Union Gospel Mission has been providing food, shelter and clothing to people in crisis. The nonprofit seeks to address the underlying issues of homelessness and lead individuals toward lasting life change. Union Gospel Mission partners with individuals and organizations across the Inland Northwest to reach the poor with the love and power of the gospel so they may become God-dependent, contributing members of society.

For more information, call (208) 665-4673 or visit https://www.uniongospelmission.org.

-Written By Marc Stewart, Director of Sponsored Content

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

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