As you may know, last week was our Christmas for the Love of Children food and gift distribution. In the days following the event, the entire staff here was beaming with Christmas spirit and joy. It seemed to touch each of us equally, but in different ways. For many of OPEN M staffers, the pure bewilderment of the parents and anticipation of each child’s excitement was the most impactful.
I am always impressed by the individuals receiving gifts having such grateful hearts. First, there is a surprised look on their face followed by a big smile and a thank you.
-Dottie Achmoody, CEO
It was truly magical… the faces of belief and wonder filled the air yesterday. From an innocent child with Santa to a parents that were so grateful for the gift of Christmas. We did a great job at mirroring Christ’s love thru gifts.
-Bob Titus, COO
It was a totally Amazing experience being an elf! I wish I could be there with each child on Christmas morning.. Such a huge blessing for Summit County!
-Tela Long, Getting Ahead Assistant
For others, seeing compassion build bridges to bring the community together was the most impactful part. And after all, building bridges is what OPEN M is all about!
The entire day was a moment for me!!! The joy, the entertainment, the celebration, the blessing that we can make people feel like “people”! We aren’t giving out handouts, we are providing blessings to individuals that are in “a time of need”! CFTLOC distribution is a blessing for all of us!
-Jennifer Wallace, CWC Case Manager
It warmed the cockles of my heart to watch each and every volunteer treat our clients as though they were their own family. Love and Dignity was abound and you could feel it!
-Vikki Thomas, CWC Case Manager
With this being my first CFTLOC, I loved seeing everyone work together and really make the day special for the families that received gifts. It’s such an awesome experience to be part of a group that comes together to make such a wonderful difference within our community.
-Megan Allen, Transportation and Mentoring Coordinator
For some of us, possibly thanks to having young children, the experience hit home because we know the parents we served long to see the same joy in their children’s eyes we long to see in our kids’. Stepping back and trying to imagine walking a day in the shoes of some of these parents is truly humbling and quite honestly, overwhelming.
Resilience, gratitude, humility, grit, love—these are the words that come to mind when I think of the families I met at this year’s Christmas distribution. I think of the parents who walked miles in the cold to get here, the dad who could barely stand because of a back injury but still showed up, the mom who came just days after surgery, and the many, many parents who rushed in after a long day of work. So many parents paused to look me in the eye (several through tears) and expressed their thanks. Over and over I met parents in deep pain and need, graciously accepting our gifts and working hard to love their children well this Christmas season.
-Michelle Unangst, Grant Writer
I saw my own three year old in the face of the children who came in with their parents. I saw her pure joy while they picked out their Barbies and read stories with Fran. These children smile and feel and hurt and love the same way my child does. The weight of what Christmas means to all children hit me. As a parent, I’m so thankful to have been a part of making Christmas extra special for these families.
-Aimee Juarez, Marketing and Social Media
Could there be a better way to celebrate the birth of Jesus than to live by his example by loving and serving those in need?
This Christmas, we pray each of our donors, volunteers, staff members and friends in the community will feel the blessing of peace and joy knowing that each of you have played a part in touching Summit County this Holiday season. As you celebrate with friends and relatives, please remember to say a prayer for the families we served at CFTLOC this year and for the children who will be opening their gifts on Christmas morning.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas.