Thank you so much for your generosity this Christmas season to families who are struggling in our community. Your kindness and gifts showed compassion to those who needed an extra hand of support this year. Many of these families are in desperate times and were not able to provide for their kids at Christmas. We heard stories of job loss, divorce, unexpected financial emergencies and the struggle to meet basic needs for their families. These gifts were more than meeting needs and bringing joy to children, they showed the love of Jesus Christ.
Our 2018 Christmas Gift Giving Event was another huge success. Each year our goal is to provide a place where the community comes together to this meet specific need while empowering and involving our families in the process. At our event families came to pick up their gifts, and had the opportunity wrap the items themselves, pick out some stocking stuffers, go through a mobile clothing closet (Anchored by Grace Ministry gave out 800 pieces of clothing and other winter items), grab a homemade treat and take their gifts home to give to their children on Christmas day. This fun day allowed for parents and guardians to share in the Christmas experience and feel more connected in the giving as a result.
This year over 545 kids in the Elanco School District received gifts from donors. This is almost 100 more kids than last year! We wish you could have seen every smile and every tear from parents or guardians who were touched by the ability to give gifts to their kids.
Here are some, of many thank you notes we received from of our families. They write,
“I just wanted to say how grateful I am for how you guys helped me. Every person I interacted with today was extremely nice and helpful. There was a really nice guy who got their gift bags for me and when I told him I didn’t have time to wrap them he put tape, gift bags, wrapping paper, etc. in their bags for me. Then he insisted on walking the stuff to my car. When I got home and looked in the bags I was overwhelmed and started to cry because the items were all things I would have picked if I was the one shopping in the store for my kids. I have never been in the current financial situation I am in where I’m not sure how to even pay rent along with all my other bills. My kids have been through a lot this year with my husband and I separating, and I seriously cannot express how thankful I am for you going out of your way to take them into the Christmas program even though it was after the deadline.”
We also heard a story about a Mom who sponsored 6 kids last year…but this year her financial situation was much different due to several crisis’. She said it was incredibly humbling, but it showed her how we all need each other through difficult times.
Another mom of two kids with autism broke down crying with a volunteer after she pulled out a weighted blanket that was in the autism puzzle piece design.
CrossNet is overwhelmed by all our donors & volunteers who make this this event happen. There were approximately 136 different donors providing gifts. With representation from 15 Churches/Life Groups, 22 ELANCO Teachers & Staff, 14 Businesses & Organizations, and approximately 85 Individuals. Simply Incredible! And over 100 volunteers served for this event. Everyone was AMAZING. There were also many God conversations taking place. It truly was a beautiful picture of the body of Christ coming together to show and share Jesus.
CrossNet Ministries is looking forward to continuing gift distribution for our 2019 Christmas Gift Giving Program. As always, our heart is to share Christ’s love, while helping families be empowered and successful. With all our positive feedback we feel that this event was effective in achieving our goal. If you have any input (positive or opportunities for change), we would love to hear it. We would also love to hear stories that you heard or were a part of as many of you volunteered and interacted personally for this event. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or stories. You will be contacted again in September to see if you wish to participate in 2019.
Thank you again and Happy New Year,
Lisa Kerstetter, Director of Marketing and Events
Meredith Dahl, Executive Director