what Leprechauns do to help make a difference
In 2014, we were able to provide Christmas for 33 families with sick children. The families included 13 from MetroHealth, 10 Sickle Cell families through Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and 10 through Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation.
Overall, Christmas 2014 included forty-eight adult caregivers such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, Foster Moms, single and two parent families who are dealing with the care of 109 children. They were the recipients of clothes, gift cards for food and gas, toys, beds, bedding, strollers, cribs, high chairs, pots, pans, dishes, other household items and Christmas decorations, which gave a leg up to two families who were just getting their living quarters together. One family spent a homeless period due to the cost of illness.
Individuals, teams and volunteer shoppers shopped, wrapped and celebrated a very special kind of Christmas knowing that families who would otherwise not have Christmas would have a very special year.
We now have two Avon Girl Scout Troops, because Troop 51150 spread the word to troop 51124. Two families received gifts and food, and handmade blankets made by the girls. One Solon organizer spread the word to her friends again this year and 4 families were helped. Our Richfield Angel organized 4 families, all totaled, that is one third of the families.
We have 16 Angels who come back year after year to adopt families. This year a former Clevelander who is living in New York found us through research because she heard of our program when she was a high school student here in Rocky River; she was coming home for Christmas and felt it would be a great idea to sponsor a family as a family project. She found us on the 16th of December, just two days before we delivered to the hospitals. Just in time to underwrite a family with 13 month old twin girls, and 2 boys two and four years old.
I have no way of expressing enough thanks to all our Christmas Angels for their continued support. We heard that one family with two boys had only beds and a kitchen set. We shared the story with a couple donors, and when all was said and done, this mom who only asked for bedding and cleaning supplies and a few toys, clothes and underwear for the children, now has a sofa and chairs and a rug and a table and lamp and a TV for their living room. When their living room furniture was delivered, the first thing everyone did, was to sit on the sofa. Previously, the only place they had to sit was on the beds, what liberation. They now have dishes and kitchenware and a rocking chair that had been in the family of the donor who decided that this family should have it because it seemed like the right time to pass it on. I am sure these boys; especially the one who is autistic will have much pleasure rocking in their new living room.
Many supported the program with checks and donations in lieu of adopting an entire family. These donations are extremely important because they allow volunteer shoppers to cover the families where we are short of donors. We make an agreement with the hospitals in advance, so Child Life personnel can identify and get information from the families, so the donors will have the information to shop and wrap in time to meet the deadline for the families to pick up their Christmas. We make sure all families who have given information will receive their Christmas wishes, which is where the additional donations are very helpful.
You also need to know how grateful the board and I are for all the continued support. Some shopped and some sent checks, some wrapped, some are new helpers and donors this year, and many come back year after year and mention how much they enjoy the experience of helping. It is a big undertaking from the smallest to the largest family, but it is so worth it.
Donors are responsible for many Merry Christmases for families who would otherwise possibly not have one at all. Everyone needs to realize how much of a difference is made in the lives of some unfortunate families through this program and its supporters, or for that matter any Charitable Program you may support.
Many of us have never met personally, but have come to be great friends through emails, texts and phone calls. I am truly blessed, for friendships with people I may never meet.
With love from me and the children that we serve.
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