Rescuing Christmas for Generations of Debra’s Family
The words have stuck with Debra all this time. “My aunt told me a long time ago that at Christmas they got a candy cane and an apple,” she said. “And they were happy. It was a treat.” Debra is still impressed that her aunt, mom, and their siblings found such humble gifts special. “It’s tremendous that that brought joy to them,” she said.
Still, she’s grateful that The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts for children, teens, and seniors who wouldn’t receive any otherwise, has helped provide a different experience for her children and grandchildren.
One of the most memorable of those Angel Tree gifts was an adjustable basketball hoop. Three of Debra’s biological kids are boys. “Talk about years of fun with that,” Debra said. “Everybody loves basketball around here. It grew with every boy in this house.”
The fourth boy to enjoy the basketball hoop was Joshua, one of Debra’s sister’s children who Debra took in when he was just a week old. She took in his older sister, Debria, a couple years prior. Both became part of the family, bringing the total number of kids to six.
While Debra was more than happy to provide a home and love for all six, providing Christmas presents proved a bit more challenging. She said that without Angel Tree, she would have done her best to make whatever she could give them a treat.
But thanks to Angel Tree, she was able to give them gifts like the basketball hoop. And she says she received the gift of watching them tear open their presents. “I got to see their faces, the joy,” she said. “That always made my day brighter.”
Today, Debra is grateful for gifts that light up the faces of her two grandbabies. Their mom is staying home to oversee their remote learning during COVID-19, meaning there’s been less income this year. Debra is doing her best to support her daughter and grandchildren, even though she hasn’t been able to do her own work as a massage therapist since March. This Christmas, she will again seek help through the Angel Tree program at The Salvation Army’s Hammond-Munster Corps Community Center.
“I’m crazy about The Salvation Army. I have so much appreciation for them,” Debra said. “When I see people out ringing a bell, I’ve gotta give to bless somebody else. And when I see those bell ringers, I know I matter. Somebody is out here in the cold ringing a bell for me. That’s the peace and contentment The Salvation Army offers.”
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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.