Waxhaw’s Ray of Hope hosts 5th annual Christmas Party for families in need

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For the fifth year running, Waxhaw’s Ray of Hope hosted its annual Christmas party, giving both support and gifts to deserving children in the community. Local families gathered with community volunteers on December 23rd at the Waxhaw American Legion to celebrate the season of giving with an abundance of both presents and hope.

Kicking the event off, Ray of Hope Founder Nicole Jordan addressed the group by telling the story of how she got started on this very altruistic life path.  It began many years ago, with the unexpected generosity of then strangers Bill and Bonnie Newland, who had heard about Jordan’s tenable situation at the time, when she was struggling to stay afloat and having to care for her hospitalized son.  The Newlands pitched in, graciously sponsoring her family’s Christmas that year, and unknowingly putting Jordan on a life-long path of paying them back by paying it forward.  While Bill passed 11 years ago, Jordan poignantly invited Bonnie to this year’s party so she could witness, first-hand, the goodwill she started so many years ago.

Bonnie was visibly overwhelmed by the attention and the movement as a whole, as were many in the audience, but later humbly confided, “a little bit of kindness goes a long way sometimes.”

Following Jordan’s opening statements, she invited all the children to head outside and sing Christmas carols while ushering in Santa’s arrival by firetruck.  He was accompanied by the Waxhaw Volunteer Fire Department, which not only provided The Big Man’s “sleigh”, but was also instrumental in ensuring the event’s success – providing tables and chairs, toys from an anonymous benefactor, wrapping of the toys, and donating 50+ pillows, pillowcases, and blankets to the families in need.

Santa, along with his elf, took his rightful seat at the front of the room to host the line of children anxiously waiting to sit on his lap, get their picture taken, and tell him their wish lists.  Concurrently, the party served a hot meal, donated principally by Waxhaw’s own Provisions, ensuring no family went hungry that night.

Attendees were able to sit and enjoy a much-deserved night off from the demands of the season…and life, as it may be.  “The best part is seeing Santa and the kids’ faces,” said event attendee Lori Broadway.

Ray of Hope with the help of our local community, was able to sponsor the Christmases of 135 children this year, as evidenced by the massive closet at the front of the room that was literally bursting with presents!  And that, was of course, how the event wrapped (pun intended), with each child being given their gifts to make for a very merry Christmas!

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