Every year, my brother and I help the Evansville Dream Center and Media Ministries provide and deliver food, clothes, and Christmas gifts to struggling families throughout the Holiday season. When I see the condition so many families in our area are in, I feel fortunate to have been raised in a loving home which helped play a huge part in my never feeling like we were "less fortunate". I will say, looking back on my childhood, I realise now our family was similar in many ways to the struggling families we are dedicated to help. Living inside a trailer with a huge hole in the floor's corner of a tiny bedroom that let freezing cold winter air draft in and sleeping in sleeping bags because we had no sheets or blankets and being too cramped for room to ask friends over to hang out was less than glamorous. I know what it feels like to miss a meal, to not have heating or air conditioning, and what it's like to squeeze into hand-me-down clothes from my much taller thinner cousin. I know what jealousy and embarrassment feels like and experienced it daily when I would see the other kids laughing, socializing freely, and eating together in the cafeteria while I was in the kitchen dumping their trash & washing their filthy trays because I was apart of the school's poor kids "lunch program". And for the record, that was the absolute worst job a kid with slight OCD could have possibly done. It was humiliating, disgusting, and I hated it... I also know what it's like to doubt and wonder if God really provides for his people, and if he is real, why is he not helping? I know the intense pain and emptiness an innocent child (still hanging on to hope that miracles can happen) experiences when learning the reason their pathetic little Christmas tree has no gifts under it is because Santa Clause is really Dad. And to top it all off, Dad will not be home from the hospital in time to make Christmas happen this time. I know how it feels to believe everything will get better if Dad could just be healthy and maybe my hugs will make him better, only to find my hugs did not contain the healing power needed. Throughout my life, tough times hit in one way or another. However, the greatest impacts in my life did not come from the disadvantages or uncomfortable situations I experienced. The greatest impact came from the changes my heart went through while my family experienced loving generosity and help from our family and church members. These people never held their favors over our heads or leveraged their help to gain anything. They never asked for repayment. They never made us feel like we were a burden. They provided food when we had nothing, presents when we lost hope, and love that is still felt to this day. The acts of a few selfless people touched my life and my heart forever changing me. Those events combined with the acts of love we received ultimately makes this mission something I can not ignore. The people in my life during the toughest times were miracles for me and my family. They are the main part of why it is so overwhelmingly important to me that we help God create more miracles for families with situations similar to my own. With the financial blessings so many of us have achieved at this momemt, No family in need should go without food on Thanksgiving or Christmas and every single child should have at least one day each year when everything in their life seems perfect even if only for a few moments. To help this happen, my family's business, our team, and family members donated as much time & money as possible towards helping people in our community. However, the talent aspect of this mission has always come from my good friend and founder of the two nonprofit ministries mentioned above, Gary Jossa. His talent of connection, communication, and relationship building had enabled him to expand the organization's reach beyond belief touching and impacting so many lives in our own community the same way my life was impacted years ago. However, this year has provided more obstacles and setbacks than ever before. We are planning to provide a minimum of 1000 food boxes with 50 items per box, including the turkey, to families in need for Thanksgiving Day as well as Christmas. We are also striving to ensure every single child in need has their clothing needs met in addition to a few personal gift they asked Santa for to open on Christmas. Unfortunately, at this time, we are behind (way behind) in our fund raising. My good friend Gary is old school. For years, as an old school guy, Gary would go door to door, place hundreds of phone calls, visit just as many people in person, and hand write hundreds if not thousands of letters asking those of us who are blessed to take a few moments to thank God for all we have and to reflect long enough to consider giving back in a way that is meaningful to our own personal convictions. Time, Treasure, or Talent... This year, Gary was restricted in his ability to physically tackle the entire job of collecting enough contributions to complete the organization's mission. This is a mission I strongly believe needs to continue. If you agree and want to see these works continue at full capacity, I strongly urge you to donate whatever amount you feel is appropriate. I know many have other financial obligations or may be donating a large portion somewhere else and may feel like $1 or $20 or $500 is not significant. Honestly, even 1 cent is helpful. And if you don't have the finances to make a donation but still have the desire to help, you can share this post with as many of your friends, family, businesses, contacts, etc. that you possibly can! Get the word out. I promise you, anything you can do to help will be greatly appreciated. Also, your donation will qualify for tax deductions. If you need a 401(C)3 statement, contact me! And I can tell you from personal experience, the ability to be the miracle for someone in need is life changing for both people.
Thank you in advance for helping us move forward.
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