‘Twas the night before Christmas…
Grundy Area PADS opened our shelter at the Peace Lutheran Church at 6:30 PM. We had MANY wonderful donations from area contributors…
- Before Christmas, area donors generously purchased gifts for all the guest’s children. These were delivered on Friday and the parents were provided wrapping paper, tape, and bows to decorate the gifts for the children.
- The Morris Hospital Cardiology Nurses provided food – catered by Rosati’s. Pasta, Chicken, Italian Beef, and a huge garden salad. They also provided McDonald’s gift cards for the following day and toiletries for the guests.
- Mazon Methodist Church delivered some pies and provided gift bags for the children and guests along with toiletries for all.
- 3 volunteer families collected money and provided Wal-Mart gift cards to split among the guests.
- The Peace Lutheran Church’s congregation provided a Christmas Tree with ornaments for decorating (and a few surprises under the tree for the children). They invited the PADS guests to join them for Christmas Eve Service and many came down to the community room to wish the guests a Merry Christmas. A huge display of Christmas treats was also given to the guests.
- Another volunteer collected donations and delivered them to the guest’s parents for the children. She also delivered extra bread, cinnamon bread, and cookies for the guests.
As everyone bedded down for the night, cookies and milk were set out for Santa. Employees of Maria’s restaurant delivered stockings for all the guests – another wonderful surprise for the morning! In the morning, there were gifts galore under the tree! The guests looked on as the children reveled in each package they opened.
I had an opportunity to sit and talk a bit with one of our new guests. This was a tough time for him, as his marriage of 40 years came to an abrupt end. He was suffering from depression. He repeated to me often of his gratitude, saying, “I can’t remember being this happy. Watching the kids open their gifts on Christmas morning and being able to sleep in a warm and comfortable place instead of under a viaduct is truly wonderful.”
His demeanor and gratitude are things that are more precious than gold and should give us ALL a reason to keep going about the PADS business. I strongly believe we are making a positive difference in people’s lives. One never knows when the next opportunity may come to impact another’s life in a meaningful way. We cannot choose when the need may arise, nor the manner in which it is revealed. But, we can choose to rise to the occasion and allow our humanity and compassion for others to flow through us.
Thank you Phil Wardlow for sharing these words with us this holiday season!