At 2:30, Jane Vickers predicted very few would come. Sure we’d have presents and food, but there was a winter storm warning out!
Instead, we had a warm and wonderful Christmas party with 37 children and 26 adults and teens in attendance.
As in years past, the younger children shopped in the Christmas Store, a project coordinated by our junior leaders and teen volunteers and funded by a Make a Difference grant from Youth Resources. In the Christmas Store, each child identifies the family members for whom they are shopping and works with an adult to select appropriate gifts. One the gifts are selected, the team goes to the tutoring room to wrap everything.
The kids take their time selecting gifts. I watched as a brother and sister shopped simultaneously. The sister motioned to her adult “helper” who quickly understood and jumped between the girl and her brother as the girl stashed a gift for her brother into her shopping bag. Meanwhile, he was contemplating a gift for her, so she caught his adult helper’s eye, darted to the table, tapped the item she wanted her brother to select, then dashed away, having planted the idea.
In the big room, kids sang carols and heard the Christmas story told by volunteers from Aldersgate United Methodist Church. They challenged themselves to make a gigantic paper chain and they created Christmas cards.
To one side, Jane Vickers continued to distribute Art & Company “dividends”–shares of the money that the children earned by selling their art at Patchwork’s Holiday Sale. The size of each dividend depends on each child’s investment of time and good behavior. I watched as one boy received his check for $4.79. “Yaaayyyy!” he said wholeheartedly as he rejoined the party.
In a corner of the library, one student worked with her usual tutor to finish her homework. They’d set themselves up there quietly and of their own accord, getting one last tutoring session in before the Christmas break.
Then we all ate a meal together. Thank you to the nurses on Unit 5100 at Deaconess Downtown (John Rich’s unit), to the Muntzers, and to our excellent servers: Marc Petersen and David Vickers. Thank you to all our other volunteers, as well.
It was a wonderful evening!