Family Receives Christmas Assistance and Community Outpouring in the Midst of Tragedy

May 24, 2023

For over nine years, Tanya Kramer and her family have been coming to The Salvation Army in Livingston County. Her eight girls loved attending the Lunch Bunch program once a week, a program which provides food and fun activities for families.

But during their time in the program, tragedy struck: Tanya’s husband was involved in a car accident which left him hospitalized for months. During this trying time her friends at The Salvation Army dropped off food at her home and kept the family involved in activities. Being close to Christmas time, she signed up for Christmas assistance as well.

“All of them had big hearts. That was the first year I did the Christmas program with them. They came out to the house and did all the paperwork with me while we were sitting there,” Tanya said.

The program Tanya’s family benefitted from was Adopt A Family: recipients fill out a form and describe their situation, number of family members and a wish list of items they would like to receive for Christmas. Then their information (without names) is given to potential donors who spend at least $100 per family member on gifts, as well as gift cards to local grocery stores for food.

When their gifts are ready, the families come to the pick-up location and volunteers load them into their cars.

*Adopt A Family gifts ready for pickup

The Livingston County Corps is also involved in the Angel Tree program and hosts an annual Toy Shop where donated items are grouped based on children’s ages. According to Marlena Poff, Director of Social Services at the corps, no child has ever walked away with under 10 toys per kid, and 10 stocking stuffers.

Angel Trees are Christmas trees decorated with paper angel tags each tag representing a child in need of a present. Donors remove one or more tags and purchase gifts for the child. Angel Tree and Toyshops are hosted at corps across the Great Lakes Division.

Sadly, Tanya’s husband passed away after some time in the hospital. Through this difficult time, her friends at The Salvation Army rallied around her. “They dropped off food. Milk was dropped off once a week. There was a lot of communication to see how we were doing. The Christmas program, Adopt A family, helped a lot,” Tanya said.

“The kids received an overabundance of things during the Christmas program, especially that first year, just an outpouring from the community. They went way over and beyond that first year.”

Though times were hard, having a community at The Salvation Army was a great blessing to Tanya and her girls. Beyond the programs themselves, she became good friends with the workers and volunteers, saying hello and catching up when bumping into them in town.

*Tanya Kramer at the Livingston County Corps Community Center

“Whenever somebody’s going through something I always direct them to The Salvation Army,” Tanya said.

If you were inspired by Tanya’s story, you can help clients just like her by donating to The Salvation Army, or volunteering at your local corps.

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