Last year was the first “real” Christmas at Hyacinth’s Place because we opened our doors in November 2011 and it took a while for all our women to occupy the fifteen units. Knowing a ‘wholesome’ Christmas would mean a great deal to our women, I started preparing for Christmas early in 2012. The women had a wonderful Christmas. St. Michael’s Truth Lutheran Church showered each woman with unbelievable generosity. The Women’s Ministry spent Christmas Eve singing carols, playing games, and generally spreading love, laughter, and the Christmas spirit.
Once again, in 2013 I began my Christmas preparation and campaigning early. In September the letter writing and requests for Christmas gifts went out. However, in spite of every overt and covert effort, there were no responses, no offers, no inquiries – nothing. I began to think, “WOW, what am I going to give fifteen women for Christmas?” What can this agency afford that would bring unexpected joy to the women? One morning, at the end of October, as I was dressing for work, my cell phone rang. A stranger introduced herself and said, “I found your website and I wish to help in any way I can, is there anything you need?”
When I finished my list, she simply said, “OK”. As I hung up the phone, I recalled my mother’s words, “If it is too good to be true, it usually is.” However, I left home that morning feeling a sense of relief. Although I got her contact information, for some reason I could not recall where I had placed it. The month of November came and went and there was no further communication from my potential donor. I had excitedly relayed our good fortune to the staff and they began to ask, “What are we doing for the ladies this Christmas?” With our frugal budget and mounting bills we started working on Plan B. By the end of the first week in December I told myself, “If it is too good to be true…”.
The week before Christmas she called. Her soft and determined voice said, “I was able to collect donations from friends, family, and colleagues and I am going shopping for the women. Can you give me their sizes?” She asked if she could bring some friends over on Christmas Eve for a party. I was excited to be meeting her for the first time. The first thing I saw when she arrived were these HUGE Christmas bags packed to capacity, fifteen bags being carted in by a bunch of very young men and women, not one of them older than the youngest woman at Hyacinth’s Place. When I met my donor, she was not a day older than twenty-eight years.
I was temporarily at a loss for words. We just hugged. When I count my blessings, I now have an additional list of blessings. I am happy for the beautiful message these young women and men brought to the women of Hyacinth’s Place. ‘Inspirational’ is the word I have heard from almost every woman. I am happy for the unforgettable memories this young woman created for us all. We can never forget this Christmas. I am happy that we received our “pennies from heaven” and once again I am happy that God has held Hyacinth’s Place in his arms.
Urla, Executive Director