Today we have another #RAHolidayKindness post highlighting the ways that Random Acts staff members used their holiday kindness budgets. We cannot think of a better way to begin a new year than by celebrating acts of kindness and community support. Thankfully, there are plenty of stories to go around since our staff was so busy this holiday season!
Tree of Giving
Each year, Vancouver’s Kingsgate Mall hosts a Tree of Giving. The Tree of Giving may look like a typical Christmas tree, but it has one very special difference– its branches are decorated with tags rather than ornaments. Each tag has basic information about a child from one of the local elementary schools, including ideas of what they want for Christmas. Community members can choose a tag, buy the child’s presents, and return the tag and gifts to the mall so that children from low-income families can experience the magic of Christmas, just like their peers. Last year, the mall collected and distributed more than 1,500 gifts!
Random Acts Outreach Officer Emma Lawson was familiar with the Tree of Giving, as she used to live in the neighborhood. While at the tree, Emma met a woman who said she takes tags every year. What a lovely holiday tradition! Emma used #RAHolidayKindness funds to buy gifts for three children who had tags on the tree. Because of your year-round support, these kids received the toys, slime, and graphic novels they most wanted for Christmas.
The Milwaukee LGBT (MKE LGBT) Community Center provides programming to meet the needs of the LGBT community in the Greater Milwaukee area. They do this through resources and programming focused on anti-violence, healthy relationships, counseling, referral systems, a lending library, group meeting spaces, computers, internet access, and more. Jean Hayes, our Events Program Coordinator for AMOK, had previously met MKE LGBT’s older adult programming director. When #RAHolidayKindness time rolled around, Jean decided to support the community center.
MKE LGBT’s older adult programming director mentioned that the organization needed some fun things to use for their older adult programming. Jean reached out to see what other needs she could address. She learned that they also were hoping for basic items to distribute to their at need population and gender-neutral crafting supplies to use in programming. Jean used her #RAHolidayKindness budget to buy games, puzzles, boxer briefs, hats, mittens, and crafting supplies. The games and puzzles will prove useful for socializing, meetings, and programming. MKE LBT staff will be giving the boxer briefs, hats, and mittens to those in need. The crafting supplies will also be put to good use; one of the older adult programs involves creating cards for people at local hospitals and nursing homes.
City of Refuge
City of Refuge is a nonprofit organization focused on helping refugees “recover and regain control of their lives.” They do this through programming that addresses basic needs, professional development, PTSD counseling, and more. One such program allows community members to “adopt” and fulfill refugee children’s wishlists. Last year, City of Refuge was able to provide gifts for 30-40 children. This year, they upped that number to almost 300 children!
Communications Officer Holli DeWees is familiar with City of Refuge and has previous experience adopting families through them, so using her #RAHolidayKindness budget to help them just made sense. Holli adopted two siblings, ages 4 and 5, and she was able to buy gifts for both children as well as basic needs items for the family. One of the things Holli most appreciates about the organization is the fact that they provide families with resources for two years after they arrive in the United States, which is much longer than most other organizations.