A Special Appeal from the Christmas Bureau

by Melissa Brunner

I'm reminded many times over at this time of year just how fortunate I am. I am able to walk into a store or surf a website and purchase gifts I think my loved ones will enjoy receiving for Christmas. Oh, sure, I do try to find the best deal and I do put limits on how much I will spend, but the point is that I have at least some money to spend. Sadly, many people do not. For many families, it's tough enough to scrape together the extra cash needed to keep the house warm during the winter months.

This is where the Christmas Bureau steps in and needs your help. Nearly 2,900 households applied and qualified for assistance this year. While many have been adopted, the United Way informed us today that about 410 families are still without adopters. That includes the following remain:

·        One adult with one child:  42 available

·        Two adults with 1 – 4 children:  159 available

·        Single adults (most are homebound): 109 available

TThe United Way is hopeful you can find it in your heart to help so that they don't have to tell these families that they cannot help. While costs for adopting a family, the United Way recommends a gift of $30 value to each individual plus food for a holiday meal.  Meal costs are estimated at $25 for the first person plus $5 for each additional person in the family.  Adopting a family of three will cost approximately $125. If you need further details or can help, contact the United Way at 785-273-4804 or apply online at www.unitedwaytopeka.org.

I was struck by how much even something small can mean when working on a story with a family who had formerly been homeless. In their small apartment, they gathered to celebrate their two-year old son's birthday. Nothing elaborate - a happy birthday sung around a cake. The gifts - one small toy from the parents and the older sisters and brother wrapped up a toy of their own to give their little brother. It was one of the most joyous celebrations I'd seen. There was true appreciation - and true love.

The families asking for help through the Christmas Bureau aren't asking for a lot, just something so their children don't feel forgotten. It can be tough to ask for help. They ask, not out of want for themselves, but out of love for their children.

For "To whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." -Luke 12:48


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