Another year has come and gone. Again, we were faced with many challenges as a community amid this pandemic, businesses struggle with staffing shortages, illness has affected our households, money is tight, and the weight of additional stress is heavy. We are grateful for one thing that didn’t change this past year - the outpouring of generosity from our community toward those needing our assistance.
Sadly, it is no surprise that an increase in violence also surfaced during this time as victims came to us for support and services. I am happy to share that this Christmas we were able to provide gifts to 51 adults and 109 children that are using our services because they have been affected by violence (sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect). As a comparison, this is an increase in 45 individuals from last year. Thanks to our compassionate community, these 160 individuals in our service area were able to enjoy new coats, hats, gloves, shoes, bedding, bath towels, toys, and more! Some of these families are starting over in a new location for safety and we were able to provide them household essentials, like a microwave, vacuum, and dishes, to help them with their fresh start. There were tears of joy, children bursting with excitement, and many hugs of gratitude and disbelief for the kindness of these anonymous donors.
Here are just a few reactions:
“To my Christmas SOS Santa, I want to say Thank You. I expected gifts for my kid but did not believe I would get much other than a pajama set or something. When I opened that beautiful bedding, I couldn't believe it. Like out of a magazine bedding! I took it out and put it on my bed and crawled in. I told my daughter that this must be what it's like to stay in a fancy hotel, like the Hilton Inn. We are now sleeping like queens in my magazine bed. It's so soft! How do sheets even get that soft? I've never had a new bed set. My whole life I've had no sheets and hand-me-down blankets. Thank you forever!”
“Thank you so very much for the wonderful gifts! The quilt is so beautiful. I will always remember this Christmas especially when I see the quilt. Thank you for making this Christmas such a blessing.”
“After receiving the gifts that my SOS secret Santa bought for me, I started crying carrying them in. Didn't make it too far, lol. This is the best Christmas I've had in years! I hope you have a Merry Christmas as well.”
“I am in disbelief. It has been so many years since anyone has given me a gift and I am so very thankful.”
“I had no idea how I was going to provide Christmas gifts for my kids this year. The fact that SOS and strangers that don’t know me care enough to give my kids and I a good Christmas is a dream come true.”
In addition to the Holiday Drive, our dear friends, Mark & Angie Schreiber, offered to match $10,000 towards our Hope Lives Appeal. We are happy to announce that with their help, we received nearly $40,000. These are crucial funds that support our staff and client resources for the year ahead where there are gaps in our grant funding. We are so very thankful!
We are extremely grateful for the support of our friends in the community, and the courageous trust of our clients who are seeking safety and guidance. May the year ahead bring you much joy and peace!