Thank you for showing an interest in this meaningful event by taking the time to visit our website. The purpose of this event is to give a group of homeless Veterans currently living at the Volunteers of America homeless shelter a family-style Christmas party. What started in 2009 as small party organized by a local couple with a handful of volunteers and a $500 budget, has grown to become a significant outreach fueled by the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donors. In 2011 we raised over $5,000 and were able to feed and provide gifts (including a computer lab for the Lansing shelter) to over 60 homeless Veterans in Michigan. Our 2012 goal is to raise $7,500 which will help us to provide the same experience to over 80 homeless Veterans.
What do we need to pull this off? While we're continually thinking of new ways to provide a meaningful and memorable Christmas to our Veterans, the following items are essential for the event:
- Prayer: a lot of prayer goes in to this event, and quite honestly, we feel it's the most important ingredient. The best part is that it's free, and something that everyone can provide. If you aren't able to donate financially or otherwise, please take a moment to pray for the Veterans, and to pray for the party itself, that it would touch the lives of all involved and that God would be glorified through it.
- Generous donations of ANY amount: monetary donations are used to help purchase gifts, wrapping paper, tableware, and any supplemental food needed (determined once the amount of donated food is known). A portion of your donation goes towards purchasing gifts for the Veterans. Over the years we have been able to provide them with items like winter gloves, hats, toiletry kits, and bed linens. All things that many of us may take for granted but mean so much to a homeless person. Last year a group donated homemade scarves for each Veteran who attended the dinner. Through the generous giving of local community and civic organizations last year, we were able to purchase the necessary equipment to furnish a computer lab at the Lansing shelter. We were also able to replace their television that had recently quit working. For the Niles, MI shelter we were able to purchase a ping pong table. The gift giving part of the evening is such a special time ... for many of these men it's the only wrapped gift they get to open all year.
- Meijer Gift Cards in ANY amount: these gift cards are given to the Veterans to go towards purchasing food items necessary for them to make their own homemade Christmas day dinner. Since the party we throw for them is usually a week to ten days before Christmas day, we've always felt it was important for them to be able to enjoy their own dinner on that day. Our goal for the Lansing shelter $300 in gift cards; for the Niles shelter our goal is $200 in gift cards.
- Homemade entrees and baked goods: the sky is the limit here. All we ask is that if possible, any food you donate is homemade, to make them feel as "at home" as possible. The organizers of the event can work with you to let you know what is most needed.
- 2 liter bottles of soda: any flavor, we'll take them all!
- Food donated by local restaurants: in the past we've worked with local businesses like Cottage Inn Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Blimpies. If you own a restaurant we would love to talk with you about what you could do to help.
Please consider how you could help us to make this year's event the best one yet!
Proverbs 22:9 ~ He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.