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Christmas 4 Homeless Kids

For the last 4 years, we have been providing homeless kids with Christmas presents by partnering with local schools. Christmas 2023 was the most touching to me of all the years we have been doing this. Why was it touching? I'll tell you. When we get the lists from the school, we ask that they ask the KIDS what they want. We don't want to know what the school thinks would be good or even what the parents want them to have. Now in saying that, its not meant to be insensitive to parents or school personnel, but instead we chose to focus on the individual desire of the child. Our goal is to make sure each child has a wonderful Christmas, despite what their personal life looks like.

So this go round, we had a family with 3 boys and an older sister. The youngest boy wanted a bicycle and a basketball, the middle child wanted headphones, a watch, and crocs, and the oldest wanted shirts and shoes. When I saw the list, I called my contact and said "is that all they wanted (because the other kids had longer lists)?" She replied, "Yes and Ms. Jackson I almost cried when the older kid said he just wanted some good shirts and shoes he could wear. I have never had a child ask for that." I told her my heart dropped when I saw the older child's list because I had never received a request for that.

After we talked, I prayed and asked God to make a way for us to get those babies the shoes and clothes they wanted. And guess what...God came through, as always. We got the older boy about 10 shirts and some Nike's and the middle boy a pair of crocs from Famous Footwear. In addition to that we were also blessed with shoes from Soles 4 Souls.

Soles 4 Souls provides shoes, clothing, and socks to organizations that help others in crisis. When I reached out to them and told them what we do, they were more than willing to help. They provided us with enough shoes for all of the kids to get 1-2 pair and a pair of socks. My heart was so over joyed. We don't receive donations and don't have sponsors so imagine how it felt to receive a donation like that.

When the kids went back to school after Christmas break, my contact at the school told me that the older boy was so excited that he cried. He told her thank you over and over. Although the shoes from Soles 4 Souls didn't arrive before the break, the kids were able to get them when they came back to school. Because their identity is confidential, I was not able to locate them and hand them out myself over the break.

We also received a generous donation of toys from Toys for Tots. When I picked the toys up, I was not expecting to receive as much as I did. Although we had bought most of the toys all 20 of the kids requested, there were a lot that we couldn't find in the stores but miraculously, they were included with the donation from Toys for Tots.

As of now, we are only providing Christmas for elementary kids due to lack of donations and sponsors, but we hope to extend it in the future to all kids. Which brings me to the second part of this special Christmas. The 3 boys mentioned above also had an older sister in high school. Now, let me just say that I never ask about older siblings because our focus is on elementary kids that attend the schools we partner with, but God had a different plan. I asked my contact if the boys had other siblings and my contact said yes, an older sister. I asked her to ask the mom what she wanted. My contact was just as shocked as I was that I said that because I never have in the past. Anyways, after speaking with the mom, she said the sister wanted an iPad. My contact and I both were like "oh boy, that's big". I told her I would pray about it and go off of what God said to me. She told me she would do the same. When we spoke the next day, we both said that God said "do it". So we put our heads together, and pockets, and were able to provide her with an iPad. The young lady was so happy. She told her mom that was all she wanted because she needed to do her homework and couldn't because of their living situation. Why did I do it? First because God said so. Second because when it comes to education, I will do whatever I can to help. Yes she could have asked for a laptop but it was Christmas and we were being obedient.

So I say all that to say, when God places it on your heart to help others, do it!! You never know the impact it will make.

I also want to say thank you to Sole 4 Souls for caring enough to help us help the souls that we encounter. To Toys for Tots I would like to say, without your generous donation and compassion, we would not have been able to provide all of the kids with toys they asked for.

If you would like to make a donation to Soles 4 Souls or Toys for Tots, their website is www.soles4souls.org and tampa-fl.toysfortots.org






 

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