Yes, Christmas Day is over for another year, but there are still some holiday stories to tell. Like this one. This is about a little 7-year-old boy named Blake. The young boy is having to live with his mother at a domestic violence shelter somewhere in Texas. They arrived at the shelter just before Thanksgiving. Some weeks back, as Christmas was approaching, his mother found a letter to Santa tucked away in his backpack.
This is what that letter said: “Dear Santa, We had to leave our house. Dad was mad. We had to do all the chores. Dad got everything he wanted. Mom said it was time to leave and she would take us to a safer place where we don’t have to be scared. I’m still nervouse [sic]. I don’t want to talk to the other kids. Are you going to come this christmas [sic]? We don’t have any of our stuff here. Can you bring some chapter books, a dictionary, and a compass and a watch? I also want a very very very good dad. Can you do that too?”
According to Micah Thompson, the shelter’s director of marketing, Blake’s letter “was an emotional mix of a normal kid asking for his wishes from Santa but also explaining what it’s like to be a child who is away from home in a scary place for the holidays.” But those who work at the facility do their very best to make sure there are events and programs to show the holiday cheer. One of those programs is called “Santa’s Sack.” This is a program where people can donate gifts for all the children staying at the shelter. There is also a special “toy shop,” where mothers at the shelter can shop for free for presents for their children. Because of all the kind donations to the shelter, many of Blake’s wishes to Santa were taken care of, but he may have to wait awhile for a very good dad to come along.
Says Micah: “This year we received more than 10,000 donated gifts, so rest assured that Blake is going to have everything he asked for and more for the holidays. In the same program we set up a store in the shelter where the kids can shop for their moms!” According to the director of marketing, nearly 1,500 women and children came through the shelter during the year before.
Says Micah: “We have babies who are born while a mom is staying in shelter, so we have newborn all the way up to 18 years old staying with mom.” She also said there are more children at the shelter than moms, as the mothers often will bring in multiple children. Blake’s letter was posted on the shelter’s Facebook page, and Emily Hancock, the vice president of development at the shelter, said children’s artwork and even their letters are often shared on social media. She believed Blake’s letter would get maybe a few comments or shares, but she did not expect the response it actually got. It was shared more than a 2,500 times and received 600 comments.
Says Emily: “What’s awesome is, we’re having a lot of people open up about their experiences with domestic violence. So for this post, where we intended to maybe get a couple likes or shares from our supporters, hopefully it can encourage someone in a similar situation to get the help they need.”