In December 2008, five friends gathered in my living room to wrap presents for 10 foster children, living alone in a hospital. Last year, the Annual Project Believe Wrap Party outgrew a gymnasium. We just booked double the space for this December 16th, expecting around 200 people to gather and wrap thousands of gifts for 65 kids in just a few hours.
Watching it all unfold is magical to me. There will be hundreds of people who will donate thousands of gifts and dollars to make Christmas possible for kids they will never meet. There will be countless people knitting and crocheting scarves and hats to fulfill a promise. There will be the feel-good sensation we will all experience the night of the Wrap Party, knowing we are making a difference in so many children’s lives. But that is not the real magic.
Let me tell you about the real magic . . .
The kids Project Believe supports are at an age when most kids do not believe in Santa Claus. Typically pre-teens and teenagers, they have grown up in situations where they have had little to no Christmas to celebrate. Most of them have no place to call home and no one left to call family. Very few will even have a visitor over the holidays. They are struggling with a mental illness, alone.
The residential staff will buy each child one or two gifts within their meager budget. For many of our kids, this is the biggest Christmas they will ever see. They will go to bed on Christmas Eve filled with the excitement and anticipation of opening the one or two gifts bearing their name the next morning.
What they will wake up to instead, are all of the comforts of home: blankets, pajamas, stuffed animals, slippers, handmade scarves and hats, their very own stockings, and the list goes on. Basic items, like new socks and underwear, will make them declare it the best Christmas ever.
Most importantly, they will know they are not alone. They have not been forgotten. They will feel the love of people who care and who believe in them. In that instant, on Christmas morning, our kids will have something to believe in, and that . . . is the real magic.
We welcome you to be part of making magic happen this year. Whether you would like to make a monetary or gift donation, knit or crochet a scarf or hat, or attend this year’s Wrap Party, please find the details on our website or on our Facebook page.