(Photos Below) “The Child Advocacy Center came alive with the true spirit of the holiday season on Friday,” said Executive Director Sharon De Boer. “After the sponsors delivered the gifts, the Child Advocacy Center looked like Santa’s workshop filled with presents for needy families.”
On Friday afternoon, the families began picking up the gifts for their children and grandchildren. There were hugs, laughter, and tears of joy as the parents and grandparents thanked Family Services Coordinator Jennifer Gamble and Cannon County Coordinator Lemuel White.
“The holidays are a particularly stressful time of year for many of the needy families we serve at the Child Advocacy Center,” De Boer said, “It is such a great feeling for our staff and volunteers knowing that all these families are going to celebrate a wonderful Christmas. We are very grateful to all of the Secret Santa’s who have made children’s Christmas wishes come true this holiday season.”
One of the mothers got tears in her eyes when she picked up the gifts for her children. She told Family Services Coordinator Jennifer Gamble, "We were not going to have a Christmas this year. But, because of our wonderful sponsor my children will experience the magic and wonder of the Christmas spirit. The sponsors have provided more than gifts, they have given my children and I good memories to treasure forever.”
One of the Cannon County grandmothers smiled as her grandson rode his new bike in front of the Child Advocacy Center with a huge smile on his face. His grandmother said, “Please thank our Secret Santa for their kind and caring heart. May God bless them this Christmas season.”
Family Services Coordinator Jennifer Gamble said, “It warms our staff and volunteers hearts to know that all of these families will have a happy ending to a very difficult year.”
When asked why their family chose to sponsor a needy family for the holidays, Loven and Margaret Hall said, “We were looking for an Angel Tree Family or someone to help at Christmas. We have been blessed this year and wanted to share with someone less fortunate. Our daughter, Devin, is an MTSU student and she was a Social Work intern at the Child Advocacy Center. Devin told us that there were families at the CAC who were in need. I was happy to get a specific list. We had the best time for shopping for “our” family and feel like we have a new daughter and grandchild.”
Director Jody Barger from Stonebrook Day School said that they sponsor needy families every year because, “The Rutherford County Child Advocacy Center is near to Stonebrook’s heart because they work with children just like us. For 4 years the parents and children of Stonebrook Day School have been delighted to give back by donating new toys, stuffed animals, books and other items to needy families. We cannot bear the thought of a child “going without” at Christmas. We hope that our donations, as well as the donations of other families and businesses, make the holidays special for families in need. We look forward to helping out again next year! Merry Christmas from the families and employees of Stonebrook Day School!”
De Boer said, “It is the belief of the Child Advocacy Center that children deserve the best, especially in their times of crisis. We want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Hall, Jody Barger and Stonebrook Day School, and all of the Secret Santa’s for sharing that belief and making the holidays a joyous season for the families we serve.”
It’s not too late to get involved and help child abuse victims during the holidays. For information on how you can get involved, contact the Child Advocacy Center of Rutherford County at 867-9000 or the Cannon County Child Advocacy Center at 563-9915.