Our incredible donors and volunteers gave 920 families (representing 3900 people) a brighter Christmas! Last week the GraceWorks Manger was at Church of the City in Franklin and, for the first time, at First Baptist Church in Fairview. For four days, our staff and more than 1000 volunteers were saturated in funny, sad and heartwarming stories. Let us share some of the miracles you made:
The Perfect Gift
A mother of a teen-age daughter spied a popular CD as soon as she walked up to the girl teen gifts table. She grabbed it, hugged it tightly to her chest and dissolved into tears. “I started to order this because my daughter wanted it so much, but then took it out because I couldn’t afford it,” she said. Still crying as she was accompanied to her car by volunteers carrying her gifts, she said, “I wouldn’t have had a Christmas for her if it wasn’t for The Manger.”
Home for Christmas
A man in a wheelchair and his wife told a staff person working at The Manger that they were facing foreclosure earlier this year for the lack of $700. GraceWorks helped the couple meet the payment. “I love you guys,” he said. “You saved my house!” as he chose a charming figurine for his wife and she picked out a back massager for him. They also took a pack of Uno cards for long winter evenings.
A Family Christmas with Grandma
A woman’s brother had recently died, near the one-year anniversary of their father’s death. She has a multitude of relatives coming in for Christmas from California, but the Manger lessened her anxiety by providing gifts for her grandchildren and reminding her of the coming joy of sharing the holiday with her family.
A mother of twin teen-agers was able to find a bicycle for her son, but there were no girl’s bikes left that were large enough for his sister. About 10 minutes later, after she thought she had no hope for new bikes for her kids, a teen girl’s bike that had been overlooked was found stored inside a stairwell. As tears ran down her face, she gave her helpers a big hug.
Power of Prayer
The GraceWorks Manger offers a Good News Room where people receive prayer before selecting gifts. Amid many tears and hugs, two women separately accepted Christ into their lives the same night in the Good News Room. One woman told a volunteer she had a “great emptiness” inside her before receiving this blessing. A woman said volunteers in the Good News Room had prayed with her the past two years for healing for her brother’s cancer. This year he is in remission. One neighbor said it best after she left the Good News Room with a big smile on her face, “I’m so happy because someone prayed with me. Somebody cared about me.”
One Less Worry
One afternoon, a woman wearily sat down a moment before continuing her gift selection. Originally from Jamaica, she had received word the night before that her daughter, who still lives there, had been mugged and shot. She is expected to recover, but she is alone. The mother was boarding a plane the next morning to be with her daughter but has to leave her three younger children here. She said she was grateful the Manger had provided all she needed for her children’s Christmas.