How did Operation Christmas come about?
Operation Christmas was inspired by my Childhood Christmases. We did not have much growing up and we often went without, but Christmas always came and was always complete thanks to the wonderful family members, friends, and strangers who made it happen. Our last Christmas with my father was my absolute favorite and one that changed my life forever. It was the Christmas that I realized just who my father was…he was Santa Claus.
That year a local radio station wanted to provide Christmas for at least one local family (I’m not sure if they did more than one. I never heard about it since I was in school during that time.) They asked for nominations and why the nominating person felt their nominated family should have Christmas. Several of our friends and co-workers called the station and told them about our family. Several companies, not just the radio station, were so moved by our story that they all decided to provide Christmas for us. You see, my father was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and Emphysema earlier that year and was not expected to live. I honestly did not think he would make it to Christmas. I was seventeen years old.
It felt as though the entire community came together for our family. I really wasn’t in the mood for Christmas. I knew it was going to be our last with my dad and I didn’t want to accept that. But shortly before Christmas Day we received a beautiful surprise of several friends, coworkers, etc. dropping off Christmas to us. All explaining who was behind it all. We had more than enough. Far more than I ever remember seeing. We were given gifts, clothes, shoes, and just about everything we needed for the winter and having a memorable celebration.
It was wonderful and something I cherish greatly. The defining moment for me was when my father left with the extras and was gone for several hours. When you go through Chemo you tend to befriend your Chemo buddies. I swear my dad made friends wherever he went. Even still today, I receive Facebook messages and strangers coming up to me (when I lived in FL) asking if I am my father’s daughter. My dad wasn’t perfect but knowing that he made a difference in these strangers lives is moving to me. I love hearing how they met and the positive impact he had on their lives. I later learned my father had taken all our extra “Christmases” to other families who were struggling that year or who had loved ones also dying from illnesses. It was one of the most Christlike acts I had ever seen from him. That Christmas he taught me the power of selflessness, compassion, and kindness. He was and always will be Santa Claus to me.
For years I have remembered that defining moment and knew that someday I would do something to “pay it forward.” This year is that “someday.”
I can not do it alone though. I need your help. I would love to see the community of Star Valley come together and help make Operation Christmas a success.
What is Operation Christmas?
Operations Christmas is a new organization where we hope to raise enough donations to provide Christmas to at least one local family in Star Valley. Through Operation Christmas this family will receive: A Christmas Tree with decorations, one to three Christmas Presents for each family member, Christmas Dinner, and other gifts of necessities (clothes, coats, shoes, etc.)
If you are a local business and would like to help provide some of these items please let me know. I would like to try to purchase as many items locally as possible.
What Can YOU do to help?
We are now accepting applications for families whom you would like to nominate to Operation Christmas. Because I do not know very many in the Valley, I really need your help in finding at least one family to help bring them some Christmas Cheer and Hope this year. Tell us their story by filling out the application below. The family must be currently living in Star Valley (Smoot through Alpine.) All names will be held confidential as we know it can be difficult confiding in someone about personal and financial struggles and we will respect everyone’s privacy.
The deadline is December 20th.
We are also accepting cash donations for Operation Christmas through this link Operation Christmas and at our table at the Craft Fairs being held this season in Afton.
Thank you in advance for your generosity!
In Loving Memory
March 20, 1954-February 27, 2001