HOW THIS WORKS
In early October, we work closely with social workers and local NWA school districts to connect 25 qualifying children and their families with our organization. These families qualify through their enrollment in the Families in Transition program which serves families within the state of Arkansas who are between stable housing situations. We choose the venue and our amazing volunteer staff is notified of their roles and responsibilities.
Since each invited child is able to bring two parents or caring adults and their siblings, we are expect around 100 individuals and this is our first year. While our main focus is building a magical experience, we recognize the opportunity to send every participant home with a few things from their Christmas Eve celebration. To achieve this, our volunteer staff works with each individual child to learn of their wants and needs for the holiday season.
We work with local donors to provide each attending child an item on their ‘want’ list, a blanket, bible, and warm set of pajamas. Photos from the event, a Christmas tree with ornaments, a bag of breakfast food, stockings full of goodies are also given the families as they leave the the event.
Our staff prepares the most magical and ethereal Christmas scene that may be compared to Silver Dollar City’s look and feel. Many Christmas trees, tables decorated with beautiful tableware, a choir stage, and a huge roaring fireplace complete with mantle holds every stocking for every child. The cookie decorating station and Santa’s chair are assembled.
The evening of the big event, dinner is served to our special guests. Turkey, ham, dressing, casseroles are all blessed with a prayer of hope and thanksgiving before everyone digs in. During dinner a choir takes the stage to sing seasonal Christmas songs while everyone fills their hearts and bellies.
In order to preseve a sense of pride, dignity, and autonomy, our staff offers parents/guardians a chance to sneak into Santa’s Workshop to gather their kids’ want list items. We encourage adults to use the gift wrap, bows, and colorful cards our staff has collected from donors throughout the area. Our staff will help them wrap the gifts on-site or send them home with supplies so they can be the ones to present the gifts, freshly wrapped, on Christmas morning.