Last month, we received a donation request from Tracy, a wonderful ThinkFun supporter in Charleston, SC. Tracy has used our games for years, both as a classroom teacher and a homeschooling mom to help stretch her children’s thinking in new ways.
Tracy reached out to ThinkFun for help with an amazing event for children in her county’s emergency shelters. These kids are often taken in the middle of the night by DSS with just the clothes on their backs – no toys, stuffed animals, personal items, clothing, etc., and they stay in an orphanage-style home anywhere from a day to 6 months until a foster family takes them in.
When Tracy found out that these kids have very few toys and games to play with and receive only a $25 gift card to Wal-Mart from the state for Christmas, she decided to take action. ThinkFun was thrilled to donate games for all of the children in these homes, and Tracy wrote to describe the wonderful holiday event in which these games were distributed:
Tracy describes the event:
I wanted to share with you about the evening we had down at the Carolina Youth Development Center. We took down all of the gently used toy donations to the center. They went immediately to the living room/play areas of the “homes” down at the emergency shelters.
We took some fantastic new toys and games donated to the Emergency Shelter from ThinkFun. They were all wrapped and tagged in festive holiday paper.
Santa and his elf were there to hand out the toys.
When the children started to come down the hall, they could see Santa through the glass windows. The youngest children ran into the room and flung themselves around Santa’s waist. They stood and talked with him for at least 20 minutes before we could begin.
The children looked over Santa’s table covered in wrapped gifts. One little 2 yr old boy grabbed a gift and hugged it tight. Santa’s elf explained there was one there for him, but he needed to wait until Santa called him up. He hugged it even tighter. He then put it down and waited for his gift.
Another boy, about middle school age, came up and told Santa he wasn’t real. He even grabbed his beard and tugged. The beard didn’t move. The boy looked at Santa and said, “You are real!”
They were all so thrilled waiting their turn for Santa to call them.
Another young boy went up to the elf and asked what was on her clip board. She told the little boy that it was the “nice list”. He asked her if he was on it. She said, “Yes, I think you are.” He asked her to check it again to make sure.
Even the older teens hammed it up with Santa for their photo.
Afterwards, the children had dinner and then ate brownies, cookies, and lemonade that Santa left for them.
It was an awesome night. I would have to say that one of the best Christmas gifts I have ever gotten was watching the true excitement and joy of the children running up and swarming around Santa asking question after question. The true happiness on their faces was a blessing to see.
My own family has spent the last few weeks working on helping to prepare for this event. As homeschoolers, we made December all about community service for our Kindergarten Social Studies lessons. They have helped brain storm ideas, collect up items, go through their own toys and games to share, and even help wrap and tag the gifts for the Children at the Emergency Shelter.
It has been a wonderful family lesson this year to really focus on others, rather than ourselves, for the Christmas season. It has been exciting and rewarding for all of us.
I want to thank ThinkFun again for contributing to the Carolina Youth Development Center and helping to make so many children so happy.