One of the gifts we receive from the Lord is in realizing how we can participate in “Your neighbor as yourself.” These situations seem to be more intense and more frequent when we do the Christmas Giving Program. Many of you know that we always have that heartwarming Christmas story that we tell in our February edition of StreetLights. This year we have a situation where we are reaching out to you for a very special family. They are going to need your prayers, lots of prayers and financial help.
We were into our fifth day of taking names for our Christmas Giving Program. We were already over 40 names in when I turned around at the entry station and there was a mother standing there and she was very obviously pregnant. I just smiled to myself because I was going to tell her that we would sign up her unborn child for Christmas gifts. We have been doing this for over 30 years. And every time I tell a pregnant mother we would be signing up her unborn child they are always very surprised. You might even say shocked, and every time I do this I cannot help giggling to myself. It is quite an experience.
So I asked her for all of the paperwork, her picture ID, original social security cards of the children, and birth certificates of the children. She reached into her bag and pulled out a stack of papers and put them on the counter. “How many children?” I asked. “Five,” she replied with a broad smile on her face. I thought to myself, “Oh boy, she has five already and now here comes the sixth.” So I went through all of the children’s information making sure her name was on all the birth certificates and none of her children were over fourteen years old. If they were, then I would have to take them out of the pack because we stop giving gifts at fourteen years old.
“Ok,” I said, “And we are going to get Christmas gifts for your unborn child. Do you have a name picked out that you would like us to use?” She just looked at me and quietly said, “I am having triplets.” “Three,” I shouted. You could hear me all over the LittleStore. She broke into laughter. She couldn’t even talk to me she was laughing so hard. “That’s eight!” I stammered.
So now I was the one in shock and she was the one giggling. In my mind I kept hearing, “That’s eight.” I put the number eight on her registration slip and led her into the entry area.
Pat was doing the entry that day so I said, “Pat, this lady has five children.” I could see Pat’s eyes open, as we don’t often have many families of that size. “And,” I continued, “She is pregnant with triplets.” When I said that her eyes were wide, very wide open and she started to laugh. I told her, “Enter the five children and when you get to the unborn children call me because I will need to show you how to enter them into the system.”
Not being able to contain myself I headed back to the office to get Kathy to come and help with the entry. As I walked through the warehouse I stopped and told the story to Evelyn and Angie who do all of the pricing of items for the store. They both started to laugh and I could still hear them as I entered the office door. Then I saw Kathy talking to Priscila and I immediately told them the story and they both started smiling and shaking their heads.
After the mother finished the entry I reviewed her information, name, address, the names of her children, their clothing sizes, and ages. I noticed she had names for her three unborn sons. I quietly asked her when she was due. I wanted to know so I could put her name on our daily prayer list. She said, “In December.” “Ok,” I said, “Our policy is that we will only give the gifts to the person whose name is on the receipt. But I do not want you to worry about getting the gifts for your children in time for Christmas. So if you are in the hospital just before Christmas Eve, have someone call me and I will make sure you get the gifts in time.” “Thank you,” she said. I then wrote my cell number on her receipts. And said, “May God bless you and keep you and your family in the palm of His hand.” Then she walked out the door.
After she left there was something nagging at me. All day, into the evening and it was still there after I woke up the next day. “How is this family going to survive, how is this family going to survive? I am still pondering that question, but I have decided that we would start a special GoFundMe this Christmas for this family. So if you can swing it send us your donation specifying “For the family of eight.”