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Thank you from First Light

Donations abound in December as everyone remembers the homeless. Donations abound as everyone remembers how blessed and fortunate they are, and choose to do something for those who aren’t so fortunate. Volunteers abound as those who don’t necessarily have financial resources seek to give back in some way. The blessings simply abound in November and December.

Today, I would like to tell you what our guests have experienced over the past month. Today, I want to tell you what YOU made possible. This was Christmas at First Light:

- Every single woman in permanent housing (Shelter Plus care and Bessemer) received a basket filled with all the food required to make a traditional Thanksgiving meal for their family, including a pan to roast a turkey in and a gift card to buy a turkey. We had so many baskets left over that every woman got another basket for a Christmas meal as well.

- Every woman and child in emergency shelter on Christmas morning got gifts galore! Each woman got 3 bags filled with sweat suits, tote bags, makeup, candy, handmade Christmas cards, very nice soaps and lotions, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and so much more. These are basic items to us, but they spoke deeply to the women receiving them.

- Every single woman and child in permanent housing was sponsored for Christmas. EVERY LAST ONE. That means that people told me they would sponsor someone, got the wish list, and went out and purchased some or all of the items on the wish list, wrapped the gifts, and delivered them to First Light before Christmas. Most ladies got everything they asked for, with several also getting basic furniture that they didn’t have delivered directly to them by these generous donors. One new permanent housing resident didn’t have a bed, but she didn’t even list that on her wish list. I mentioned this to a donor, and she delivered this woman a bed with all the linens and a beautiful comforter the next week.

- Every woman in our fourth floor permanent housing program was sponsored for Christmas, and got items specific to her in a stocking especially made just for her.

- Every single woman in emergency shelter and permanent housing who has young children or grandchildren got to “shop” for gifts for those children. The gifts were wrapped with love by sweet volunteers before the women left. One woman who has a 5-year-old son cried and said that she didn’t know what she was going to do for him for Christmas until her Social Worker told her what we were doing. He loved every gift she picked for him. The toy donations were so generous that each child got 5 gifts, plus a clothing item, plus an age-appropriate game, plus arts and crafts items. These were NEW, nice toys that many of these children would never have gotten without the generosity of the community.

- A local company donated a beautifully decorated, designer Christmas tree to First Light for the women and children to enjoy all season long. We have never had such a huge, gorgeous tree!

- A group of young women from UAB came to First Light to do a Christmas craft and play games, and they brought Santa! A photographer came and took pictures of the ladies and children with Santa, and then printed the pictures and brought them back the week after Christmas. One woman said that she had never sat on Santa’s lap before.

I could honestly go on and on about how good our supporters are to the women and children we serve. I could try all day to list everyone who made all of this possible. Rather than doing that, I just want you to imagine for a moment that you were here, homeless, on Christmas. Imagine further that your children were also here and homeless with you- at Christmas. How grateful would you be for all that I listed above? THAT is the appreciation we have seen and heard coming from our guests and permanent housing residents. The gratitude has been pouring out of them for a couple of weeks now, and it is all meant for you- our volunteers and donors. So THANK YOU for everything that you have done. THANK YOU for your selflessness, time, effort, energy, money, resourcefulness, and your generosity. May you be blessed in 2010 for being such a blessing to others.