Sunday, April 21, 2024

Just a little Christmas magic

| December 27, 2020 1:00 AM

The forces of good conspired to make this an amazing Christmas for All.

That and maybe a little ol' fashioned Christmas magic added up to the most money donated to the local holiday charity in its 35-year existence.

From the beginning of the 2020 campaign, the front-page Christmas tree graphic got green in a hurry. One of the astonishing trends was this: In the first two weeks, more than 50 donors who had not given to the program before sent in contributions of $500 and greater.

Transplants with a heart for charity and a great cause right in their new backyard? Definitely some of that. But there were so many newcomers to the CFA drive, including two little girls in Kenya and a charity based in Lexington, that there was a feeling something had changed fundamentally.

We talked to a number of donors and learned that two powerful motivators led to an unprecedented success.

  1. An overwhelming yearning to mitigate the damage done by COVID-19 to so many locals who were already suffering.
  2. A powerful connection to Press Christmas for All's newly aligned mission — to focus strictly on Kootenai County residents who are doing their best to unshackle themselves and their families from poverty and despair.

We oversimplify when we say the program now offers a hand up, rather than a handout, but it's true. So much work is done through the year by the amazing volunteers at Charity Reimagined to identify the neighbors who need help most and then figure out the best way to help them improve their lives and the lives around them.

Some need dental work or glasses. Quite a few need help with their car so they can transport their kids safely and get to work. Some need a hand with clothing that their children have outgrown. Many need temporary help with food, which frees up money for other expenses like rent, electricity and gas.

And there's the story of a hard-working couple who have lived in the same apartment for years. They've made enough to keep the lights on and put food on the table, but not much else. When Press Christmas for All learned that the parents had no bed — they made sure their children were able to get a good night's sleep — the charity stepped up and remedied the serious problem.

To all of you who made this campaign the most memorable yet, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Pleasant dreams, dear friends.