Members at Holy Family Parish in Southeast Portland will participate for the 13th year in a row in the parish’s Christmas in July outreach project. (Courtesy Vicki Ford)
Members at Holy Family Parish in Southeast Portland will participate for the 13th year in a row in the parish’s Christmas in July outreach project. (Courtesy Vicki Ford)

Holy Family Parish in Southeast Portland is preparing for the 13th annual Christmas in July celebration. The celebration is less about presents and decorations and more reflecting the true spirit of Christmas — charity.

The parish host outreach activities throughout the month of July, hosting different activities almost every day and sometimes twice in a day. Parishioners are encouraged to participate in at least one activity, though many people participate in several.

“We believe that service/outreach is not something that we just do, but it is a way of life,” said Vicki Ford, event organizer. “These opportunities enable each of us, young and old, to make a difference in the world.”

Outreach opportunities include working shifts at the Blanchet House and Oregon Food Bank, helping to run an all-day Red Cross Blood Drive, assisting in a parish grounds clean-up work party, cleaning the kitchen in Celebration Hall, helping organize and clean the parish offices, assisting in the cleaning and reorganizing of the parish school, helping with bingo games at senior living centers, preparing meals for the Willamette Center Shelter, recruit new volunteers for both the local St. Vincent De Paul food pantry as well as inviting people to help at the Portland Chapter St. Vincent De Paul site, helping at the Mother and Child Education Center, sporting a picnic, a Portland Pickles Game for JOIN clients, volunteering to help with the Youth BBQ Auction Fundraiser for their trip to Steubenville Northwest and volunteering to assist with vacation Bible school.

The parish also offers senior parishioners, as well as Catholic Charities Martha & Mary Home and Holy Family House assistance in their yards. 

When parishioners can't give of time, they bring food for meals, serve lunch at some of the work parties, underwrite the cost tickets for the Pickles' Game, provide prizes for Bingo and so on.