The Winnetka City Council brought it to my Pastor husband’s attention that there were 52 kids at Limerick Elementary School whose families had lost their homes in the foreclosure crisis and were currently living out of their cars or in garages or in one room with extended family members. One of the kids showed up to school dressed in a sheet one day. That broke my heart because Limerick Elementary is walking distance from my front door. Our Church launched “Project Hope”, a full court press on our local community to try to get as many donations and volunteers as possible by December 18th in order to host a Christmas Banquet for these families, complete with food, clothing, entertainment and toys for all. We had two weeks to pull it off. I was expecting that no one would be able to give on such short notice and this close to Christmas. At best, I figured we’d be able to have a Church Potluck and give away some toys. What ensued went above and beyond what I could ask or think. Donations started flying in from everywhere, large and small, corporate and private. Volunteers came out of the woodwork, including from my beloved AOL family. When Sunday arrived, over 400 people showed up for the Banquet. We had more than enough toys, food & clothes to go around. On top of it all, we were able to collect enough monetary donations to send each family home with $40 food voucher. This was clearly God’s doing. I was so thankful to be a part of it.
The Winnetka Community Foundation covered the catering (scrambled eggs, bacon, & bread pudding) Hope Chapel members brought ham, fruit, bagels and bread for toast. Starbucks donated the coffee.
Christian Performing Arts Center donated the Entertainment performance.
We were able to raffle off bikes and “Spiderman Bedroom in a Box” gifts that were donated.
We still don’t know how we ended up with so many clothing donations but we had enough to put together a boutique for all the families to do a little FREE
shopping. Of course I had fun putting outfits together for display.
The Winnetka Neighborhood Council covered the cost of fleece blankets for everyone, The LAPD Topanga Station gave 250 toys. Hope Chapel Volunteers organized it so each family got a box of toys and blankets.
The Marines donated toys from their Toys for Tots program, The Fire Department donated toys from their Sparks of Love program & the Childcare Resource Center donated the books and toys for girls. The Pregnancy Resource Center donated baby blankets and toiletries.
Families lined up outside to collect their Boxes of Toys and Blankets
Dads watched children play on the playground
Moms shopped the free boutique
The Warner Center Marriott donated 16 rooms for the neediest families to spend Christmas Eve in a warm bed complete with a Christmas Tree and toys in each room!
The spotlight was definitely on Christ’s Love this Christmas