Updated: Nov 21, 2020
"Hi Christina, I don't know if you remember me, but I met you with my family when you came to help my schools community last year. My name is Karina, and I, umm, I need your help..."
(I was given permission from this family to share this story and photos).
I opened up my instagram late one night, and I could see the preview of the above message peeking out. That was the extend of the message. I clicked on her profile to see if I had recognized her, but it was private. Given the nature of the event that she was referring to, and that fact that she asked for help, really had my mind wondering. Talk about a cliffhanger of a message to have to fall asleep to.
It took about 3 or 4 days before Karina and I finally connected. She was the oldest daughter of a rather large family (6 children) that was going through some hard times. Her father was out of state trying to make a living and keep food on the table, and her mother was a struggling house cleaner. Karina was the oldest of 6 children and played second mom to her siblings. Christmas was quickly approaching, and not only did she know that Santa would not be making a pit stop at her house, she also knew that with Christmas, came the cold weather, and her family was not prepared.
I could easily tell by the conversation that Karina and I had, that she was a special soul. She was embarrassed to ask for help - but she also knew that asking for help showed strength and courage. It showed her confidence in humanity, and in her words, God.
When I asked Karina how I could be of help, she noted that she remembered during one of my speeches at her school, I spoke about the power of community. I spoke about the power of leaning on one another, and I also spoke about how I come from a community of people who are always willing to lend a hand, without judgement... and that my ultimate goal in life, is to make other peoples hearts warm.
"A winter coat for my brothers and sisters. They have to share their coats with each other and we never have enough. An LOL doll for my little sister. She seems them on television all of the time, but we have never been able to afford one. A handbag for my mom. She uses a supermarket plastic bag to hold all of her stuff, and I know she gets embarrassed. Diapers for my little sister. We never have enough and the free ones that we get never fit her...."
The list went on as she noted items for each of her family members. And then that was it.... Her mom and her siblings... she NEVER asked for anything for herself. When I asked her what I could get for her, she said that my helping was more than she could ever have asked for. Now, if that doesn't bring a tear to your eyes...
I promised Karina that my husband and I would do all we could, and would make it the best Christmas we could... As soon as I finished my conversation with her, I called my husband, told him we had a new wish to grant, and went right to work. I put together the list that Karina and I created, and jumped right on social media...
Between Instagram and Facebook, within 2 days, I had our list completed, and then some...
Artie (my husband), and I went back and forth on how and when we should deliver this special Christmas wish. Well, we happen to have a Santa suit, and we had people reaching out to us wanting to offer plates of food and other offerings.... so we figured, what better way to spend Christmas than to literally deliver Christmas to this family...
We spoke to our little ones about how we were thinking of spending our Christmas... Adriana was the first to jump up with excitement, and Nicky did his usual sly shy smile. We had our elves on board!
Christmas morning came and we did our thing in our own house... and then it was time to pack up the Santa-mobile, and head into Brooklyn. Karina was the only one who knew we were coming - it was a surprise for the rest of the family.
As many charity-type events, trips, projects, etc... that I take on... they still get me every darn time. We had Santa, and he had his elves...
When we pulled up to the house and made our way in, it was clear that excitement, surprise, appreciation, and smiles have NO language barrier. There were tons of hugs, smiles, flying wrapping paper, and laughter.. and a few tears of course.
Mom wasn't able to verbally communicate too much, but trust me, we had plenty to communicate to each other, and between the look on her face, and I am sure the look on ours, we said more than words ever could have. Come on, how awesome is this?!
Karina and her siblings were happy (and yes, we made sure to hook Karina up too!), and because of the help of many of YOU, another Christmas miracle wish was fulfilled.
Never be too proud to ask for help, and never be too close minded to help someone in need. Even a smile and a hello can change some ones world.
Until next time... #Christmas2019