Special Thank You
January 14, 2014
Our phones started ringing in early September; we received hundreds and hundreds of urgent requests from families in Dayton who were not going to be able to celebrate the holidays. Their children would have nothing to open, and Christmas would have little joy.
How lucky, how fortunate we are to live in a community that wants so desperately to take care of those families who have so little. We put out over 60 barrels throughout Dayton- please look for the list of those businesses so generous in their barrel placement at the end of this blog. We collected thousands of toys; we collected over a thousand stockings- 600+ were donated from Children’s Services- all went to families who were in awe that someone cared so deeply.
Our Christmas Cottage opened December 16th. There was a line of people wrapped around the Talbott Tower by 7am- they were ushered into our offices as quickly as we could get them in. When I came in on the first day (those of you who know me know that it wasn’t at 7am) there were literally hundreds of bodies jammed into our front office. It was exhausting- it was exhilarating; it was the beauty, the meaning of the season. We opened our doors to children represented through Montgomery County’s Children’s Services, we served hundreds of children in our community. We were able to sprinkle Christmas on over 1500 children this year. Now THAT is what I’m talking about.
There are so many to thank- so many dear and loving hearts who were front and center in their portrayal of Santa Claus this year. I will do my very best to reach out and contact each and every one of you who went way beyond what was requested in order to ensure holiday joy. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to stuff the arms of our shoppers with your donations- the happiness of those holiday hugs will be a forever memory of just what matters most this time of year.
Christmas for Kids would not happen but for the dedication of the law firm of Dyer, Garofalo, Mann and Schultz. Would not happen. The people who walk the halls of that firm are the most dedicated, inspired, and pure of heart.
In addition, our board: Jenna Rigg, Sherri Richardson, Doug Mann, Mike Dyer, Jackie Stapleton and Sheri Aldridge- the hours and hours of planning, of strategy that our group puts in- it is a beautiful marriage of souls. The preparation, the shopping, the inspiration of new ideas implemented and the knowledge of what old ideas still work- it is an arduous but deeply motivational project. The final outcome being the ability to serve over 1500 children- it was worth every minute of our time.
And to Linda Cooley-Dyer, her staff at her highly professional salon, Beauty Inc., and to again, Sheri Aldridge- two partners who man and staff the bulk of our final shopping- our sincere gratitude for your service. Our board thanks you, our children thank you; your hard hard work is simply overwhelmingly significant to everything we are doing.
To Unified Construction Services LLC, Scot Weyrauch and Donna Sizemore and the wonderful people there, thank you for picking up the donations from over 60+ barrel sites. Your generosity in service and commitment to bringing Christmas to our cottage and to our children was so graciously offered, and so appreciated.
To Dr. Ron Roddy and his dear family and friends; The Roddy family hosted a party for hundreds of people in our community. Everyone was to bring a gift for a child; hundreds of toys and games and fun things were brought in to the party. The next day, the Roddy’s came in to donate their amazing collection of gifts, and were there to present their Christmas joy to our shoppers.
There were a host of volunteers this year- families and friends who came in to share their heart and their time. The warmth that filled our offices reshaped where we were, it became home and hearth. I was and am profoundly moved by the spirit that was present in our Toy Cottage.
This year we met a homeless woman who has recently moved to Dayton to escape a very abusive relationship. She has three small children. And she had no Christmas. We met her at an event at St. Vincent’s and put her on our list immediately. Another family in Dayton called me asking if they could volunteer at our Cottage this year; this wonderful family has two sons who wanted to help us. In a most beatific display of what is the magic of the season, the two young boys took this brave young mother through our toy cottage and covered her in gifts and kindness. The smiles shared between the three were enough to make those of us in witness wipe away silent tears. The family had donated a baby doll- seriously, one of the happiest baby dolls I have ever ever seen. When the young mother was leaving, one of the young boys asked if he could give that doll to the little baby in the mother’s arms. To see the look of wonder, of joy- between all of us present was greater than any gift you can ever unwrap.
I want to take a moment and thank my dearly beloved mom. My precious mother is 85, going to be 86 in March. She was there every step of the way, each and every day, with a big smile on her face, a bag in hand, and a shopper to care for. Mom, you embodied the joy of giving during such a beautiful time of celebration. I celebrate you; we all do at FLOC, and all those we serve. You are such an inspiration of light and love.
And so, it is with a heart full of gratitude and wonder that I thank you, dear Dayton, for what you have done to make Christmas be a real thing for so many.
In a world full of difficulty, in a country battling strife, in a state buffering an economic crisis lives a small hometown that is, by nature and nurture, here to love and care for its own.