The Holidays are a time when traditions are both formed, and played out. Going to grandma’s house, baking cookies, cutting down the family tree, etc....and our family is no different. For as long as I can remember we packed up and headed to my Grandparents house on Christmas Eve for a BIG extended family get together. We shared food, fun, games, and of course gifts. As we got older, some people moved away and the crowd got smaller some yeara, but we still had our tradition of getting together and sharing the Holidays with each other.
After a number of years of just exchanging gift cards with each other, and following the passing of my Grandfather the summer before, we started a new tradition, a tradition of adopting a family in need and spending our time and money on making their Christmas a little brighter. We worked with our Church that helps hundreds of families each year, and picked from a handful of families that they felt would be the best fit for us. Over the years we have helped single parent families, families going through medical issues, and families that are homeless. Each has their own story and circumstances that we embrace and do the best we can make things a littler better.
Usually right after Thanksgiving we contact the Church to let them know we are “in” for another year and they give us a few options to pick from. This year, they started with one, knowing that our family would be the best fit to try and help. It was a family of 8; Mom, Dad and 6 kids - ranging from 2-16. They have landed on tough times, and have been living in a homeless camp. Their needs were minimal; some clothes, blankets, gloves and maybe a bag to put their belonging in.
So, let’s just stop here for a second. Can you imagine this? A family of 8 with no home...a bag for their belongings would be great?
When we heard this, we knew we wanted to help, but a family of 8 was big commitment. Even for our extended family, we were concerned if we could make an impact. Sure, all they wanted was a bag for their thing, but we knew we wanted to do more than that. We reached out to the family and everyone agreed that we COULD do this, so we made it happen. Over the course of the next few weeks, we accumulated clothes, toys, blankets, etc. We also went to a local custom print shop that was able to help us order duffel bags at cost. They also dipped into all their “seconds” and was able to provide even more clothes for the bags.
The above picture are the 8 bags filled to the brim with all their goodies the day before we delivered to the church to then get to the family. Seeing the product of our hearts coming together for another family was pretty cool. I can honestly say, that this is one of the best traditions we have started. It is something we will continue to do...and I would encourage anyone reading this to start this up as well. If you think it might be too much to take on, think through it again....you can make it happen!