“Thank You for Giving My Kids a Christmas When I Couldn’t”
It’s supposed to be a joyful experience. Parents participating in The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas presents to children, teens, and seniors who wouldn’t receive any otherwise, are usually excited when they get to choose gifts for their children.
So when Erin Andrews, the Emergency Assistance Caseworker and Volunteer Coordinator at the DeKalb Corps Community Center, noticed that one of the moms selecting gifts for her kids last Christmas was crying, she was concerned.
Erin approached Rhonda* to ask if she was okay, and her response melted Erin’s heart. “I was heartbroken because I didn’t think I would be able to get any gifts for my kids this year,” Rhonda said. “I lost my job due to the pandemic and haven’t been able to get another job because my kids are doing remote learning and childcare is so expensive.”
Rhonda said she was dreading Christmas – until she learned about the Army’s Angel Tree program. Her tears that day were from relief and joy.
“When she asked how we were able to provide gifts for so many kids, I was able to share with her how the community has been so generous,” Erin said. In fact, due to the community’s generosity, the DeKalb corps was able to provide gifts for 2,350 children last year, an increase of 800 children from the year before.
Rhonda also mentioned that she was behind in rent and utilities, so Erin scheduled an appointment for her to come back and sign up for financial assistance. “The community’s generosity allowed this mom to provide a few gifts for her children, and also gave us an opportunity to connect with her and help her feel supported,” Erin said.
As Rhonda was leaving with a smile on her face and bag full of gifts for her four children, she said, “Thank you so much for giving my kids a Christmas this year when I couldn’t.”
When you support The Salvation Army, you ensure that Hope Marches On for the next mom who fears Christmas won't happen this year.
*Name changed to protect client’s privacy.