The Christmas tree is decorated, presents wrapped, and the smell of pine fills the warm air. Snowmen and Santa Clauses, Bing Crosby singing in the background, kids counting down the days until December 25…
For many years now, my Rotary Club has played the role of Santa’s Helpers for the Yolo County Foster kids. The volunteers and social workers provide us with a child’s name, age, gender, and wish list. This year, there are 55 kids from 6 months old to17 years old.
It works like this: In October the social worker and I meet to confirm the dates and number of kids. We meet again in November when she provides me with ornament-shaped cards with the kids wish list. After weeks of announcements at the club meetings, the day I hand out these cards is a little like Christmas morning for me. The members eagerly hold out their hands to get one of these cards, some ask for two, and Chuck Santoni asked for three. I know to keep a few for myself because one year I came home without any cards and had to call the social worker for more names for my wife. I feel the happiness in each member as I pass them their card knowing this child will receive exactly what’s on their wish list.
The following week the back table is full of wrapped gifts as half the members brought the presents while some filled stockings with gift cards and candy. Another announcement with the deadline for the party for the kids on December 13 and thanks to all the members who remembered this week.
Now I need to get the gifts for my three.Two 9 year old girls and one 11 month old girl. Of course, I ask my 11 year old daughter to help.We go to Michaels for Art sets and drawing pads, thent o Target for the”baby stuff”. Always take an expert to shop! And this is the night before I’d asked the other Rotary members to bring their gifts.
After a couple of trips to a few members’ businesses to pick up thef inal gifts, it’s time to deliver to a local Foster parent who’s storing150 wrapped gifts for the Foster kids. In my part as a Santa’s Helper, I feel the Christmas spirit, the Christmas joy of helping others I do not know. I see this spirit in the smiles on the members who bought and wrapped gifts, the appreciation of the volunteers and social workers, and the kids.
My gift…is the Giving!