The toys went to Lutheran community services to be used in the annual Christmas baskets they provide to deserving families. Common residents complete applications for baskets and these baskets are filled directly by sponsors or Lutheran. Over the past few years, my office has sponsored two families and is providing Christmas for them – gifts & toys, groceries and food. My staff does all the shopping, lovingly wrapping every gift and even wrapping the boxes in which they place the items.
But some of the families do not have sponsors. So we decided to keep the toy drive to provide toys for these baskets.
It exceeded our WILESTEST expectations
To say that I am in the AWE of the toys we got is a huge understatement. We got enough toys to fill 6 BIG boxes. Lutheran informed us that this is the first year of the many years they have made this program that they will have enough toys to give the older children also a gift (high school and high school under 18). Knowing this is immensely gratifying, but seeing people put toys with smiles on their faces definitely made my heart make carts.
But what we got during our toy run went far beyond toys
What really struck me is the 14 year old son of one of our customers. Unfortunately, I was not in the office to witness firsthand, but my employee made sure to call me and tell me what happened. I also talked to his mother.
Joel recently had a birthday. He saved all the birthday money and decided he wanted to use them to buy toys for the toy drive. He brought in about 20 Hot Wheels cars. My employee did not know what to do. She began to cry and asked if she could give him a hug. Afterwards, he told his mother that he did not understand why my employee began to cry and his mother told him "She cried because what you are doing is good and she is grateful." He replied, "I gave Mom back. I used to be one of those kids." Joel, Joel came from a bad situation and was adopted by my clients.
He gets it. He understands that giving back to your community is important. He knows that during the self-season it is really better to give than to get. Why? Because he knows what it feels like to be at the receiving end. And that it might just be a small gesture to be the spark for someone to move forward. And at least to get a smile on someone's face.
Thank you Joel for teaching us all some very valuable lessons. I'm a better person for that. And I know my office is too.
A big thank you to everyone who brought in toys. We will definitely do it again next year. Your generosity is amazing and will make many children in our community smile during this wonderful time of year.