Monday, December 10, 2012

{Sub For Santa}

Love thy brother......

What started out as donating items to help others gather things for their Sub For Santa Families turned into me (our family) sponsoring a Sub For Santa Family and seeking donations to help make one family's Christmas a little brighter.

We took one of the last names on Kristin's list.  Kristin Sokol is a girl in our ward who spearheads Operation Undies, which benefits a Headstart school in Logan for migrant farm workers.  Kristin started gathering and donating underwear and socks for school kids who kept showing up to school with none.  The need for these items were great.  This year, there was a greater need for more than just socks and underwear.  Kristin, through her contact at Headstart, compiled a list of families in need.  Several of our neighbors took a family to sponsor.  I was happy to help them and donate items to their families in need as it seemed too big a project for me to take on at the time.  As neighbors had been gathering donations, Kristin posted that she had 2 more families left and asked if anyone would like to sponsor them.  I knew it would be a big job, but I said we'd do it!

We were privileged to help the Lopez Family.

The description that we got of the Lopez family was that they were a family of 5.  A father, mother, daughter age 10, son age 7, and a son age 3.  This family is having a hard struggle.  The father hurt his back a couple of years ago and has chronic back pain.  Because of his back pain he can't work much.  Between short work hours and doctor visits, they are in need, as they have no insurance.  The 3 year old has a bad case of allergies and they are trying to find out what he is allergic to.  They do know that he is allergic to peanuts.  He breaks out in sores which are irritating and cause him to scratch all the time.  He is working on potty training and is almost there.  Occasionally he has accidents, so he can surely use the extra clothes.  The family can use full size blankets, towels and p.j.'s.

Upon talking with with my contact for the Lopez family, I found out that they also needed a twin bed and bedding, a blender, dishes, serving size bowls, and a small coffee table. 

My goal for this family was that I wanted them to each have winter gear (coat, gloves, hat, snow pants, boots), new socks and underwear, a new pair of pajamas, each a blanket, bedding and a new pillow, and the all items listed above.  Everything else I got would be a bonus. 

I immediately got to work and used facebook as my resource.  I asked my facebook friends if they would like to help, and I also used our city's facebook yard sale site.  I received many donations and had many people cut me deals on items for our family.  The amount of people that were so willing to help was AWESOME.  People I didn't even know donated.  A little here and a little there.  Both new and gently used, it all added up. 
The saying,
Many Hands Make Light Work
Never rang truer. 
There is no way that I could have done what I did on my own.  I had people out of state helping too.  My sister-in-law sent kitchen items all the way from Las Vegas, NV.  My friend in Boise, ID sent a box of clothes for the 7 year old boy.  Friends and family members from Rexburg, ID sent gift cards in the mail, and I collected items from people in Rexburg when we went there for Thanksgiving.  Each kind gesture made my heart swell. 
The day before we were to deliver our items to the family, it was a crazy busy day.  All 3 of our boys had basketball games, we had our ward christmas party to goto, and I still had a lot of wrapping and organizing to do.  Oh, and it dumped snow the entire day/night and into the next day when we were to deliver.  Well, things came down to the wire.  I was wrapping and packing the trailer up to the last minute.   In my haste I didn't get pictures of the "during" with all that we had collected and wrapped. 
But I did get some pictures of the beginning when I first started collecting items.
There were several more round ups to follow.  Soon the baby's room and the living room had been taken over with items for the Lopez family.
Here we are getting a family shot in front of the trailer packed with all the goods we had collected.  We were able to get them all of my goal items and then some.  
We delivered our items to the Lopez family on Sunday after church. Thankfully the roads were clear and we made the 1.5 hour drive without any problems.
We arrived at their place at 7:00 in the evening.  It was colder than a "Mother-In-Law's hug," as Kurt would say.  There was no snow, but man it sure was cold.  We learned that their house is 100 years old.
When we got there, our contact for the family was there as well.  We pulled up and all the family came out.  Even the Dad, who has a hurt back, hobbled out.  The littlest boy, Erick, was super excited and was running around with excitement.  While we unloaded the trailer, Eli and Erick chased each other around and became instant little buddies.  Mr. Lopez wanted to help us unload, we limited him to the light items and eventually to just hanging out as he couldn't lift the heavier items. 
Here are our boys with the Lopez kids.  Hector, Jisela, Erick.  Gavin and Finn waited in the car.
These are all of the pictures I got of our delivery, as I didn't want to feel like I was imposing.  Their living room was little and the things we brought them took up a good portion of it.  Their home very clean and it was cozy and warm.  I was glad to see that they were keeping warm inside their home from the elements outside. 
Before we got there, I asked Kurt if he remembered any of his spanish so he could speak to them.  He said no.  When we got there, he busted out his spanish like it was yesterday.  He talked to the Dad, and found out that he hurt his back a few years ago while doing cement work and has been in pain every day since he hurt it. 
While we were there, Owen ran to the car and grabbed a pair of shoes that I had bought for him (Owen); that still happened to be in the car.  He got them out of the car and wanted to give them to Hector.  And he did.  He tapped Hector on the shoulder and handed him his shoes and said, "Here, these are for you."  It was very sweet. 
The family was very kind and grateful.  After we unloaded everything we stayed for a few minutes and talked before we headed out.  As we were pulling out the boys asked if we could come visit them another time.  They said it was fun and that Erick is really funny. 
What a great experience for our family.  This was a great way to kick off the Christmas season.  Many times while sorting through donations, I was overwhelmed with the generosity and love people have for their fellow brothers and sisters.  During this whole process, I kept a list of everyone who donated.  There are many.  And you people did not skimp.  Thank you.  Times x 100.  I know you and your families will be blessed because of your willingness to help.  I am grateful to have been a part of this and to have been able to help the Lopez family out this Christmas season and witness many little miracles along the way.  I love this time of year and the spirit that comes with it.  


Joseph said...

I'm so glad to hear this went well. It definitely adds to the Christmas spirit in the home, and is humbling for all of us when we think about the things we "need" for Christmas.

You made an impressive effort of rounding up the troops on Facebook. And I love that your kids wanted to go back there. Funny guys.

Jon, Melissa, and Fam said...

Wow, what a neat experience. Most people would make excuses after just having a baby (okay it has been a few months, but I am still using it)You have a really great family. You are teaching your kids some pretty amazing things. No wonder they are such good kids. Henry asked about them the other day and asked if we were EVER going to do something with them again. We will have to put something in the works. Great post


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