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Each week, as I sit down to compile my thoughts into an article I hope you will find interesting, entertaining, informative or a combination of the three – I think about what I’ve been hearing about online, in-person and seeing as I travel around town. Occasionally, like any writer, I get a case of writer’s block. This week, just as I was about to give in, and revisit a previous holiday post on family traditions, adding a few new ideas, and refreshing it for a new year, another, even more perfect subject fell into my lap, thanks to fellow FresYes writer, Jenna Ardaiz-Brown, who shared the following Facebook post with me:
“No money for your kids’ Christmas gifts? Come by our home Christmas Day from 2 – 5pm (no early birds please – 49997 Pierce Drive in Oakhurst) for free backyard pony rides and a warm dinner. Sometimes locals drop by presents for the kids, but we can’t guarantee presents (kind of depends on how many kids show up.) Depending on the weather, we’ve had two kids all the way up to 29.
Please share this message with others in need who may be worried that they won’t be able to get their kids presents. We have done this every year for the past four years, and we look forward to dressing up our ponies for those in need. Won’t you please share this message with others in hopes that it may bring some love and kindness into the life of a struggling family?”
The author of the post, Lori Prentice, then goes on to provide the following contact information and offer:
Message Lori Prentice, Jayson Prentice or Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church in Oakhurst (who has agreed to collect food or gifts for the families in years’ past) for more information or to let us know if we can expect you. We reserve our spare room in cold weather for homeless families who need short term assistance, so spreading the word may make the difference between a warm Christmas and a Christmas with no shelter. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas.”
And, since I’m technically a blogger, I can be so frank as to add, that after reading this, I simply sat, mouth hanging open, in awe of the “mic drop of Christmas kindness” that I just read about.
Are you kidding me?! This (almost) local (Oakhurst) family, not only wants to host families for Christmas dinner, on Christmas Day, at their home, and give free pony rides – if you’re a family trying to bounce back from hard times, they will even offer you room in their home to stay, for free.
I was able to get in touch with Lori in preparing this article, and she shared with me one of the most impactful outcomes from her experiences so far. She said that a fellow resident from Oakhurst endured the horrifying experience of losing her 9-year-old son, when he was killed by a homeless person, twelve years ago. In recent years, Lori was able to build a friendship with this fellow mom, and began tutoring her other son. Given the trauma this mother had faced in the past, she was very hesitant initially, in building a friendship with Lori and coming around her home, knowing she housed the homeless. However, now – after seeing the effects of the work being done by the Prentice family, this year, the mother who has a very limited income, is donating the turkey to be served for Christmas dinner. WOW.
I’m still borderline speechless (yes, I know, my friends and frequent readers are shocked, ha. ha.) but I just had to take the opportunity to help Lori Prentice and her family spread the word of this generous offer – because I know there are families who need this kind of support – those who are currently counting down the days until Christmas, not with excitement, but with dread in their hearts, as they must soon face the reality of being unable to provide a gift-filled and cozy Christmas for their children this year.
So FresYessers – can we band together, and help amplify Lori’s voice and get this information to those who need it most? Can we help support this effort, in the ways we are each able to do so? I know we can!
Ways to help:
- Share this article with a family you know, who may benefit. Share it directly via text, email, personal visit, call – whatever you can do to personally reach them in an individualized way.
- Share this article on social media, even if you don’t know someone who is in need this Christmas, someone you are connected to may.
- Consider contributing a wrapped toy/gift or food items for the Prentice Christmas event (use the messaging links above, or take to the church listed above).
- Consider reading, purchasing and/or sharing the children’s book, The Best Dinner I Never Ate, Lori Prentice has written about the experience of opening the family home to those in need, during the holidays.
- If you have the ability to help others in your own way, take inspiration from Lori Prentice, and reach out and provide that help to those you can reach, where you are.
Wishing you a Christmas filled with the joy that comes from the spirit of giving this holiday season!