On Tuesday afternoon I called a local shelter for battered women & children. Conversations with you on my Facebook page had started my wheels spinning on how I might use the gifts I've been given to help a family in need. Originally, I was thinking that maybe the shelter could connect me with a mom who had just moved into an apartment and wouldn't have a tree or anything Christmas for her children. I've seen the eyes of my boys dance when I plug-in the Christmas lights. There's a magic there. An excitement.
At such an uncertain time in the lives of these families, the least I (we) can do is attempt
to give a piece of that magic back to their hearts.
The shelter could not connect me with an individual family, but they did something even better: they allowed me into the shelter itself. Ramoth House is a short term, confidential shelter that empowers women and helps them escape from abusive situations. Abuse does not discriminate between race, age, or income.
After a background and reference check, I was allowed to tour their facility. They had a few decorations in the central living room but none in what I will call the 'quiet area' and none in the play room. Since you're reading a blog about interior design, I'm going to assume you already know this, but it's worth saying: your environment affects your emotions. I want Ramoth house to feel as magical as possible for the children AND the mothers. There are simple ways to make a home more welcoming, and aesthetics are an easy fix for me. I wasn't sure how much I could really do on such short notice and no budget. I was ready to use some of my own resources but I knew they wouldn't go as far as I'd like.
Here comes the amazing part. This is where you come in.
After just a small mention on my personal FB page, I collected $460 in cash, $100 in gift cards, ornaments, and wreaths. And if you're paying attention, that all came in just four days.
To say I was blown away by your generosity would be an understatement. Especially as the cloud of darkness came over Newton, Connecticut on Friday, this has been a great reminder to me that God is still moving. He is busting through the darkness with cracks of light: you.
I spent yesterday afternoon adding the magic of Christmas to the play room and the 'quiet area' where the women meet with their family advocate. On Tuesday I will go back and decorate the mantel of the main living room and possibly rearrange some pieces. You may not be able to tell, but my van was full from front to back with pieces not only for Christmas, but for the rest of the year. All because of your generosity.
Sadly, I am not allowed to share any photos of the inside of the shelter. No before and after shots on this project. That's why I keep showing you pictures of all the stuff, so at least you can get an idea where the money is going. I was able to put a 6'5" white tree in the play room with candy colored ornaments and a taffeta tree skirt. In the future, I would love to have THREE white trees of different heights in the play room. I also dream of covering the ceiling with paper garland and sparkly snow flakes. I had a chance to meet a couple kids yesterday and they were so excited to have a tree.
Thankfully, this has grown into an annual partnership between myself and Safe Haven Ministries. I have big dreams for next year. I hope to involve the clients of the shelter--especially the children. I would also like to explore a way to somehow give the whole shelter a face lift. But for now,
I'm focused on Project Christmas Magic.
Some of you have asked how you might help. I thought one of the best ways to do this was by making an amazon wish list. I will be updating this list throughout the year. I have also included books that the Safe Haven Ministries has specifically requested. I know many of you already give to charities, but I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I didn't offer a way for you to partner with me in this project.
Click here to see the wish list.
Special thanks to those who have already given to Project Christmas Magic.
The beauty of this project is that the clients of Ramoth House will benefit from your donation year after year.
Thank you for making cracks in the darkness.