Can I tell you a story? You've at least clicked this link, so while I have your attention let me tell you what this is all about. At lunch with my friends Kathy and Brian last week, I heard about a school in East Nashville where they do quite a bit of volunteering and service. Kirkpatrick Elementary was in the news a couple of years ago for being an underperforming school under consideration to become a charter school. There's a lot that I don't know about how all of that works, but I do know the population of the school is full of families experiencing homelessness and poverty, the school has few resources for these families, and they're now in this transition period where half the student population has access to special funding from the charter and half does not. This means half of the student body goes without school pictures, field trips, uniforms, and other benefits that kids right down the hall enjoy. Enter Brian and Kathy. The non-profit they represent, Desana Giving, has adopted Kirkpatrick Elementary and provides funding for field trips, teacher luncheons, school pictures, and other events that the school simply cannot afford to provide for much of their population. They also adopted 22 families from the school this year who cannot afford Christmas gifts for their children, collected a wish list from each family, and are buying brand new items for these families to unwrap on Christmas morning.
They ask each family to list a few items they need, and a few items they want. The list of needs includes daily basics like diapers, car seats, warm coats, socks, and the like. Children often request games, bicycles, and toys. This year, Kathy told me about a mom who simply wished for a candle.
Friends, we are going to get that mama her candle.
My birthday is December 16, and there isn't a thing the world I need. I, like many of you, will have no problem finding a warm coat when the temperature drops. I have plenty of warm socks in the drawer. I've been selling or giving away most of my extra stuff for the past 2 years, and the last thing I need for my birthday is more. What I am asking for this year is your donation so we can go buy car seats and candles and books and warm coats for our neighbors.
I'll be 29 this year. If 70 people give $29, we'll be able to help Desana buy over $2000 worth of Christmas gifts for families in my neighborhood who would otherwise go without.
This is the first time I have ever asked friends to help me fundraise for anything. I see all the fundraising events and causes and requests, and I know how it feels to get overwhelmed by it all. I know how it is to feel suspicious of where your money is going. I know how much it costs to live and I would't ask for your help if I didn't know and believe in this. Every single dollar you give will buy a candle for a hard working mama, a car seat for a baby, toys and games to kids who would otherwise go without. I'll get together with Brian and Kathy to wrap and deliver the gifts to the school, so the families can pick them up and put them under the tree.
If you're looking for a specific way to make your community less broken and more joyful at the end of a truly insane year, this is one way you can do that. If you've made it to the end of this message, I'm asking for $29 from you for my birthday, for Desana Giving. For that mama who asked for a candle for Christmas. For kids who live in my neighborhood and don't have enough warm clothes for winter. For a car seat for a new baby. For books for a little guy learning to read. For a little girl's first bicycle. For real people living in Nashville whose Christmas will be brighter because of your gift.
To learn more about Desana, find them here:
- Kyle & Tara Jackson
- Jason Marsden
- Melissa Marr