As follow up to our “Christmas-in-a-basket” campaign this past December, I’d like to share with you a letter staff member Lorena Sac wrote to me after all the baskets had been delivered. Lorena has been the driving force behind the volunteer effort to assemble and distribute the baskets since we began formally reaching out to our neediest families during the three week Christmas break our program is closed.** Here, Lorena offers a snapshot of the joy expressed by the families upon receiving their baskets, the absolute delight in receiving traditional Christmas treats. Their gratitude for feeling remembered during the holidays is deep and powerful, a reminder to me that no act of kindness is ever too small. Thank you to everyone who makes these acts of kindness possible through your support of Education and Hope.
Here are Lorena’s remarks about the delivery:
Hello dear Julia! I am so happy to write you this letter. I love my job! Once again I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to bring so much happiness to the hearts of our Education and Hope families. Seeing so many smiles in the midst of so many difficult situations helps us to be aware of how fortunate we are for all that has been given to us.
All of the families are so grateful to have been remembered… They all send blessings to you and to everyone who make these gifts possible. They were calling our Christmas baskets “gifts of love”!
This is the fifth year that we have delivered “Christmas-in-a-basket”, and it’s so wonderful to see that every year so many people are eager to help in the distribution. This time Oscar, Joel and Lucio were our supportive team, making jokes in the hot sun and dust, doing the shopping, fixing the baskets and packing them up, taking photos, going from house to house, and waiting for the moment of delivery to see the expressions of joy on the faces of the children and their mothers!
I want to share with you some of the reactions from our day. This was the first time that we visited Chepito’s house. His mother, Doña Marcela, said: “Please give our thanks to Julia and everyone that helps Education and Hope for gifting me with my first Christmas gift basket ever! I feel so happy and grateful because someone has remembered us.”
Doña Santos, Carlitos’ mom said, “Please say thank you to Julia for always thinking of Carlitos, and because I know that she loves him.
Doña Magdalena Tzoc said, “I will never be able to repay Julia for all the happiness she has given me through these sweets and apples!
Doña Lipa was in tears when she said, “Even though I was abandoned when I was young, receiving this basket helps me remember that I once again have a family because someone is thinking of me at Christmas.”
Doña Olga Santos said, “Thank you to everyone, beginning with Julia, it is because of her that this is possible. Thanks Lorena, Oscar, Joel and Lucio for visiting each house, for bringing me and my family this gift. It is a great blessing.”
Doña Reina said, “How can I express my gratitude to Julie and my happiness for all she has done for me and my family. What a joy that for two years now we have been able to eat apples and cookies at Christmas!
Doña Carmen “I already receive love and support from Education and Hope, and now on top of that I have been given a Christmas basket. I am truly grateful.”
Rosenda said, “Thank you for bringing us this basket all the way out to where we live because we really needed it. Thank you, Julie, for showing us so much love.”
Our adopted grandmother, Doña Carmencita, said, “I can’t believe that Julie sent me this gift! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Tell her that I love her with all of my heart. Tell her that I am going to eat everything in the basket!”
Julie, there are so many words from this day that have been written on my heart, words that confirm my belief that you are a blessing in the life of many people, that through your love so many great things are achieved and we have all been filled with so much goodness and warmth.
Oscar, Lucio, and Joel asked me to wish you a Christmas full of love and many blessings. They feel grateful to share in these special moments just as I do. We are all grateful for your love and for your support.
The only thing left to say is thank you for everything you do for all of us here. May God bless you today and always. I love you very much. ¡Feliz Navidad! ~Lorena Sac
Our outstanding volunteer crew! Oscar, Lorena, Lucio and Joel
**(For those not familiar with our history, this holiday effort began with my realization that children being sustained by the meals we were serving after school each day weren’t getting enough to eat during our winter break. Out of this concern grew a tradition of gifting baskets of food to our neediest families. Each basket contains food staples like rice, beans and nutritional grain drinks, but also includes special treats traditionally enjoyed at Christmas like red delicious apples, marshmallows and hot chocolate – all in a big reusable basket. In 2012 thirty families received baskets lovingly prepared and distributed by volunteers on our staff right before Christmas.)
More photos of the families: