January 2, 2015
Holiday spirit is a beautiful essence to dwell within. There is a rich texture to the joy that giving provides- the wonder of those that receive, the humbling nature of what it is to give. This past Christmas season, Dayton outdid itself.
FLOC, For Love of Children, started its Christmas for Kids program over twenty years ago. It was initiated by kind and generous caseworkers who knew that the families they championed would not be celebrating the holidays. They gathered their resources and purchased gifts, bringing them to the family homes on Christmas Eve. These dedicated caseworkers provided Christmas for fifteen families, nearly 35 children.
This program was planted in a small pot, and has been watered and nurtured and placed in the best sunlight possible. The first branches grew, and FLOC started providing Christmas for children in foster care through Montgomery Services. The numbers here grew from the lower hundreds to a current status of 750+ children served.
And then, five years ago, FLOC opened its doors to children in need in our Dayton community. It was scary and daunting- we didn’t want to pledge our service if we could not provide it. The first year, we were careful in promising Christmas to 50 children in our area. After the craze of the shopping scenario, during which hundreds of families sit in our front offices, awaiting a personal shopper and the gift of the reality that their loved ones will have some holiday cheer, we made more phone calls. We had a simple, hand written list of more families who needed our help; we made those calls, and we made Christmas for another 28 children. We served 78 children that first year.
With the proper combination of cheerleading and fundraising, we have now raised over a million dollars for the children we serve through FLOC. We are all volunteers; our monies go to our kids. Our biggest program throughout the year is Christmas for Kids.
Every year in the past five years, our numbers have grown, and we have grown with them. We have learned to shop more efficiently, we have learned to organize better, we have learned to orchestrate the shopping experience for our families in order for it to flow, and with joy.
And then we had this past Christmas. This year, because of the heart that beats such love in our Dayton, we served Christmas miracles of happiness to 2261 children. That is a record breaking, incredible reality. The tears, the smiles, the hugs- the thousands of stockings that were given with such love, that were received so gratefully and so graciously, now THAT is the meaning of holiday spirit to me.
I thank you, our board thanks you, and our children are most grateful.