I think all of our hearts bleed a little more during the Holidays. As much as giving back to our community is top of mind for me throughout the year, it is most definitely on the forefront once Thanksgiving and Christmas start rolling into town.
My father was a Ward of the State of Nevada from the age of 3-18. He was ushered around the Foster Home circuit for his entire childhood. Though he had a place to stay and food to eat, there were small comforts he wasn’t always afforded. Like socks and a birthday party. Little things that, as a child, can make or break your whole year. I am grateful for those who took in my dad when he was a boy. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today. Because of this experience, both my mom and dad, have made huge efforts in our community to give back to those in need. It was something that stuck with me, and something that my husband and I practice regularly. This year, we decided it was time for our older kids to be involved.
Recently, I was introduced to an organization called Champions For Kids, and was given the opportunity to create a Disney themed stocking for a child in need. I was honored to be chosen for this project, as I thought this would be a great introduction to my kids on the hows and why each year we give back and help those who are less fortunate than us. We didn’t have to look to far to decide who to make the stockings for. Las Vegas has been a major victim in the economic crash that happened a few years back. It affected our city more than most in the United States, and we are still feeling that economic impact. The Housing Crisis and the recession lead to many people being forced out of their homes, out of their jobs, and onto the streets. Our homeless and jobless numbers continue to rise. While it seems there is some very dim spark of light at the end of a very long tunnel, we can’t ignore the fact that there are children who go tired, hungry and cold not very far from where we live.
A friend of ours is a local realtor, and came across a family who was living on the sole income of the mother. She provides for 7 kids ranging in ages 3 months to 14 years old. With no furniture, blankets, and adequate clothing and hygene products, she still manages to get her children fed and off to school everyday. Our friend asked for our help to provide them with comforts we take for granted. He sent a picture of the family, and I showed this to my kids (ages 5 and 7 years old). I read them the story our friend wrote about the family. We talked about how the baby was like our babies, but he didn’t have a crib to sleep in, or a blanket to keep him warm, or even just little toys to play with. I could tell this really hit home for them. They couldn’t imagine their baby brothers with no place to sleep or socks on their feet or milk in their bottles. We talked about the other kids in the family that were close to their age and asked them what they thought the kids would want most. Of course, I was asked to make one stocking, but there was no way I would be able to do that. We chose the little girl and boy who were the same ages as my kids to make a Disney theme stocking. Then, we decided as a family, to provide all the kids with blankets, hats, socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and some fun Disney themed toys and games for them to have under the tree, along with gift cards to Wal-Mart to help buy items for the baby.
As the Champion for Kids organization strives to mobilize millions to give back to their own communities, we felt like a small army ourselves, working together to give back to people who could be our neighbors. Lending a hand to a mom who works hard to give her kids what she can. Realizing that the help of others can leave an impact on a child’s life for ever. Paying it forward.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions, ideas, and photos are my own.