I am a volunteer with an organization that provides XMAS wishes ( toys and clothing ) for children in need. This year we gave out gifts to 1,000
I started working nights and weekends on Nov 1st. Friday was the day we distribute gifts to the parents. Our organization is very personalized, each child has a wish list with 3 items ( I edited most of those lists- I can name any toy or sporting good item out there ). We limit wishes to less than $100 and nothing violent etc.
We also make sure each child has winter clothing.
I spent 13 hours on my feet, handing out gifts. We treat the parents in our program as our guests. We try really hard to make it an enjoyable process for them. ( We have to validate ID's.,do paper work , and other information etc. , each parent meets with our presdent or a board member, they get to pick out sticking stuffers and extra gifts in our Santa room and then at the end - we give them the big bags of gifts for their children. )
While the parents are waiting - we have a hospitality room with coffee, pastry, tea assorted snacks. We insist on no children - some of our parents - work mutliple jobs and they tell me they love to come into our room which is decorated and have a little break.
A lot of the new parents in our program think that the santa room is all of the toys they get. They can not believe when we have a bag of toys / clothing for each child. I of course spend the day in tears.
One gentlemen told me he was very embarrassed to get assistance - but we are so nice and treat everyone as a valued client .... it made him feel better. We greet everyone, we introduce ourselves - and I give everyone a hug / squeeze or a heart handshake ( I try to read the body language ).
Our community is phenomenal, from the compay that donates gifts , the donor who bought a basketball hoop for a family with 4 teens who want to keep them at home instead of hanging at the park, the gymanstics club that gave 4 memberships and uniforms to 4 little girls and the tickets to the nutcracker for a little girl who always wanted to go.
I sat and cried with a single mom who is going through chemo and could not believe that we are giving her son ( 8 years old ) such a great xmas. The mother of triplets who are 11 - they wanted an IPOD shuffle - she wrote a note and said that they would be very happy to share one - they would love it and promised not to fight. ( They each got one in their favorite color )
I could go on and on ... but it's why I get 5 hours of sleep and don't see too much of my husband. I know there are so many generous and kind Ehellions. Thanks to all you do to help your fellow man/woman/favorite furry critter at XMAS.