This marked First Parish’s 18th year of supporting REACH, an agency in Waltham dedicated to the safety, healing, and empowerment of survivors of domestic violence. Each year, we decorate a tree with paper candy canes featuring gift wishes from mothers and their children who have survived domestic violence. Parishioners then select one or more candy canes to fulfill these wishes.

When the tree went up on October 29, there were 120 red and green paper candy canes hanging on the boughs. Three weeks later, there were none. We donated Target gift cards totaling nearly $3,000. There were also bags filled with games, Legos, blocks, dolls, puzzles, crafts, books, hats, gloves, PJs, socks, toiletries, and wrapping paper.

Beyond the donations, these gifts give the mothers and children the emotional boost of knowing that people care. Thank you to all who donated.