Received via email from Carolyn Gabor:
I recently started working for a friend who is Activities Director at a nursing home. On my first day, I was humbled by the very poor conditions of the residents. Some of them are so poor. Most of them rarely or never have a visitor come to see them. My friend told me that six of these residents were the poorest of poor. Some get around 40 dollars a month to spend for clothes, extras and personal items, but these six do not get that. They get nothing at all. One only has two shirts in her closet.
Christmas donations were down this year, and although St. X school, DePaul School, Home Instead and a few other organizations had helped out with gifts, there would not be enough for all the residents to have a gift for Christmas. My friend had put up an angel tree in the nursing home, and many workers adopted a resident to buy a gift for them, but these workers get paid very little, and many are also poor themselves, so the need was still great. To make matters worse, during this time, the State of Kentucky closed down another nursing home in Louisville, and over 20 new residents were sent to this home, adding to the number of residents in need.
When I heard this, I told my friend not to worry. “God knows, and He will provide gifts for all the residents.” I posted a message on my facebook status, asking people to give. I sent a text message to all of my friends in my phone address book and made phone calls. Several people responded and 8 people were able to help over 30 residents by providing gifts. One even sent gifts all the way from Illinois.
When my daughter Jessica came home from college, I took her with me to visit the nursing home. The director and I began talking about how we needed to start getting donations. We intended to knock on doors and solicit businesses in the area. Jessica said she would help.
My friend was very concerned, because Christmas was less than two weeks away. She worried that there would not be enough for the residents. Once again, I assured her not to worry. God would provide and it was going to come easily.
That day, a friend of mine came to drop off her gifts at the nursing home. When she heard of the need, she immediately got on the phone, called her husband and friends and promised to return bearing gifts.
The next day the activities director went out and received donations from businesses and a couple of area churches. My daughter Jessica started her search by talking to her father and her grandmother, who asked her to write an email explaining the need. Jessica wrote the email and sent it off to her grandmother, Gaye. Gaye forwarded the email to her church group. That email caught the attention of a man who called me and asked if he could give the residents gift cards (anonymously) and asked if he could include a Christian card with the gifts. I immediately said yes. He went on to say, his Bible study group had been looking for a family to help. When he saw the email from Jessica, he was so moved, he knew this was the family they were meant to help. The men’s bible study group provided eight 25 dollar gift cards. The caller told me he wanted to personally give 100 dollar gift cards to the six residents who did not have anything. He brought them over that very day.
The next day, “Anonymous” called me again. He had a friend who also wanted to donate gift cards, and other gift items. He said they would meet me at the nursing home on Tuesday. In the meantime, I received a call from Gaye who said she could donate 100 dollars if we could do the shopping. A few days later, Gaye sent me a message. Her friend Helen saw the email and wanted to donate to help the residents of the nursing home. She would bring 100 dollars to the nursing home that very morning. On the Tuesday morning before Christmas, I went to the home to meet with “Anonymous,” his friend, and Helen. I brought the 100 dollars from Gaye.
When I got to the nursing home, my friend Cathy showed up with 4 large totes and a large box full of lotions, shower gels, music CDs, games, puzzle books, brushes, combs, tins of cookies, sugar free candy, blankets, jewelry, and many more gifts. She and her husband Terry had collected these gifts, along with money to buy gifts for the residents.
While she was there, “Anonymous” arrived with his friend Jerry, who owns several stores. Jerry gave twenty 20-dollar gift cards, 80 ceramic angels, 50 large hand lotions, and gift bags. While they were there, the man prayed for us, for the nursing home residents, and for Jessica. I could see how moved Jerry was and he asked if he could do more. I said we could use some additional gift bags. He asked if we could use socks. We said yes, the residents loved new socks and could always use them. He promised to return.
Meanwhile, one of the resident’s family members arrived with two more gifts and also gave 100 dollars. While she was there, yet another visitor came in with 14 sets of hand knitted shawls and lap blankets. As soon as she’d left, “Anonymous” and Jerry returned with over 250 pairs of soft fuzzy socks for the women and black sport socks for the men. They also had a large box of gift bags.
My friend, who is normally very professional, was overwhelmed and tearfully exclaimed, “This reminds me of the miracle of the loaves and fishes.”
I called my husband Jim and daughter Jessica to tell them the good news and Jessica said, “This reminds me of the miracle of the loaves and fishes.”
God provides and with His provision, there are no limits! Every resident at the nursing home will not only have a gift for Christmas, they will have an abundance of gifts. God is awesome!
Remember those less fortunate. You too can bring a smile to someone’s face. And when you do, your own heart is warmed by God’s grace.