The room was packed. Hundreds of kids, young adults, mentors and volunteers involved with StandUp For Kids smiled and laughed together as they filled the room and got in line to get lunch. Everyone piled their plates with ham, turkey, stuffing, green beans, bread, potatoes and all the other delicious foods.
Once stomachs were full, the festivities began. The day started with the thrift store – a big room filled with donated clothes, shoes, home goods and hygiene products. The kids poured in the room and started filling their bags with the items they needed. They squealed with joy as they showed each other their great finds.
Next, we heard from kids of all different age groups from different programs about what they have learned and how StandUp For Kids has helped them change their lives.
When the inspirational speeches commenced, Santa and Mrs. Claus came in and took photos with the kids by the Christmas tree. Behind them, a stage piled high with Christmas gifts was being prepared for distribution. One by one, the kids’ names were called and they came up to get their gifts. They had each submitted a wish list in advance, which our generous donors took to the stores, purchased, wrapped and sent for this very moment.
If you’ve ever heard what pure joy sounds like, this room exploded with it once the kids started unwrapping their gifts. Musical instruments were being tested out, jackets tried on, and other gifts passed around and marveled over.
Kids ate cookies, played games, or took photos together as the day wrapped up. Everyone gathered their gifts and headed for home, still buzzing with excitement about the wonderful day they had.
We are so thankful for our volunteers and donors for making this party possible. We hope you can feel the happiness you brought to these kids during what can be a very challenging time of year for some. We wish you all the holiday joy you have shared with us this year!