This years approach to the Christmas season has been a huge success. Almost 150 families have been adopted by our caring Vineyard people. Our free store has been amazing and we have had our biggest year ever at Wrap it up with over 250 wrappers wrapping.
It is clear to us that people like having options, and simple steps to help them make a difference in someones life. So our focus on reaching our community was clearly presented. (see last blog entry)
135 Adopt a Family Bags went to 5 elementary schools. The families adopted were selected by the school counselors who have had a connection with the parents and children. When the parents came to pick up the presents and clothing for their kids most were surprised and elated by the care taken by the Vineyard people to ensure their child’s wish list was provided.
School Counselor’s and teachers for our local school system selected the children for adoption and gave tickets to families in need for our free store.
Our free store was a huge success. Hundreds of presents were purchased and delivered. The store was open one Saturday and every evening during the week leading up to Christmas. We wanted to ensure people had options. If they worked Saturday, they would have had to make a decision to loose pay or shop for their family. The evenings allowed the family their best option.
Every family was greeted at the door and given a guide to help them navigate the store. At the entrance to the store we provided parent escorts for the parents. The escorts guided the parents to the age and gender present area, help carry presents (some parents had 8 children, each child received 2 presents), and most importantly listen with care.
After the parents shopped they were directed to the wrapping station to have their presents wrapped. If any children came with the parent we directed the children to the kidz zone where they could make a craft and pick up a present for their parent.
One of the highlights: We were able to give gifts to 24 kids from seven families who are in hiding in safe houses for battered women. The case workers popped in to pick up gifts and to deliver the presents to the children.
We are able to do all we do because our generous Vineyard people give, and serve beyond and above the norm, Making Christmas Dreams Come True for many.