Last year, just before Christmas, a woman named Jessica and her two children came to our emergency shelter. Jessica had found the courage to take her children and leave her abusive boyfriend, but each time she found a family to take them in, he would hunt them down, endangering everyone involved. On one occasion, he found Jessica and beat her so badly that she ended up in the hospital, where medical staff referred her to The Shelter.
It was very difficult for Jessica to bring her children to an emergency shelter during the holiday season. Over the course of their first few days in shelter, a staff member set up a special mailbox to collect children’s letters to Santa Claus. The letters allowed the children to share their wishes as well as the opportunity for shelter staff and volunteers to make those wishes come true.
While reading through the letters, one advocate stopped to wipe away a tear. In her hand she held the letter from Jessica’s seven year old son Isaiah. It simply read, “Dear Santa, What I want for Christmas is a house for me and my family.”
It was his only wish. Something that most of us take for granted – a safe place to live – was the greatest gift this seven year old could imagine for himself and his family.
Isaiah received several toys and some new clothes that year, but thanks to The Shelter and its many service partners, he eventually got his special Christmas wish. During her time at The Shelter, Jessica was empowered to take charge of her life. She secured a job and saved up enough money to move her family into a tiny one-bedroom apartment. Although small in size, having their own place was a big accomplishment for Jessica and a dream-come-true for Isaiah.
It's stories like this why we choose to give back to our wonderful community. The Shelter for Abused Women and Children is a receiving organization on our 2018 Stuff a Bus Toy Drive. We invite you to stop by the Coastland Center Mall on December 20 to help us stuff a bus full of toys for those at the Shelter and Youth Haven. Learn more about the toy drive here.
The woman and child’s names have been changed to protect their identities.