As we near Christmas Day and the end of the holiday season, I cannot thank each one of you enough. Your overwhelming participation in our inaugural Adopt a Family initiative was incredible. It almost feels like words are futile as I sit here, thinking of how to describe what YOU all made happen on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening. I’m going to share a few little stories to give you a glimpse into the joy that was felt when families and foster youth received Christmas gifts this past weekend.
Stats: 190+ individuals impacted – 135 of them children. 400+ gifts given. $1400 donated towards Adopt a Family (including check-ins!). Dozens of wrapping paper + countless packages of bows + dozens of rolls of tape were used to wrap it all up!
…One young adult who received gifts hadn’t believed that we were “for real” when we told him he was referred to us for Adopt a Family. He was shocked that he and his older siblings (also his guardians) had received gifts and even a skateboard he had been saving up for.
…A mom and her teenage son came to pick up their gifts straight from being at the hospital where their dad/grandpa is terminally ill. The teenager saw the piles of gifts, and a skateboard with the wheels peeking out, and he stopped short. He just was in shock and began to tear up. He just kept saying thank you over and over. His mother had shared with us that they were so focused and drained emotionally and financially by the situation with their sick family member that Christmas was going to maybe only be a special meal that year.
…One mom showed up to wrap gifts and it took her over an hour to wrap because of all the thoughtful items that were given for each of her girls. She just kept shaking her head in disbelief of God’s goodness to her.
…A caregiver from one of the foster youth group homes (CRF) shared through tear-filled eyes that she was speechless that we actually care about the kids to not just send random gifts but to buy specifically for each of the youth in the home. She said that no one remembers them, and no other organizations reach out. One of the boys we bought for had asked to delay a foster placement because he wanted to receive his gift – it was the first time in his life that he could remember that anyone had asked him what he wanted for Christmas. He’s 17.
…At the foster youth Christmas party, over a dozen of the youth ripped open gifts and yelled/screamed/ran around with joy over receiving “exactly what they wanted and hoped for” for Christmas. Old shoes were tossed off, and new shoes were paraded around the room. One girl got a jacket from her favorite store. As she put it on (and didn’t take it off the rest of the night) she said with wide eyes, “How did they know!?” This is only a small glimpse of the joy that came from that party and the opening of those gifts, but really…it was amazing.
There are so many more stories, I could fill pages but I’ll stop there. Thank you for your incredible kindness, for answering the call of Jesus to love and following his example. May you and yours have a very Merry Christmas and may your hearts truly be LIGHT this season.
Meredith Chase is a superstar volunteer who took the lead on the Adopt a Family initiative. We hope it becomes a Newsong tradition, blessing kids and families for many years to come. Thank you, Meredith!