No Hungry Hearts For Christmas – Part 4 of 4

24 Dec

While our blog doesn’t officially launch until the beginning of the New Year, we wanted to sneak in a little early & share with you a true Christmas story that was our inspiration for the No Hungry Hearts Here blog.

You will read about  about a group of deprived children…living at an orphanage…facing a bleak Christmas…who were blessed in a miraculous  way – and how God used ordinary people with willing hearts to do the extraordinary!

This personal anecdote will  be brought to you in 4 parts :

Part 1 on Tuesday December 20, 2011
Part 2 on Wednesday December 21, 2011

An Intermission on Thursday December 22, 2011

Part 3 on Friday December 23, 2011
Part 4 on Christmas Eve, Saturday December 24, 2011.

We hope that you enjoy it! Merry Christmas!

..The Honey Bunch

Part 4

The countdown had begun.

Only two days until Christmas and there were still miracles taking place. That morning, while opening my mail, the phone rang.  I answered and was quickly greeted by Sister Marta’s excited voice.

“You’ll never believe who called me!” she exclaimed.  Before I was able to return a reply, she continued, “A Westchester based corporation called and they have five hundred dollars to give us for Christmas!” Astonished at their generosity, I was thrilled.

“Then you are not going to believe this!” I rallied back to Sister Marta.

“I was opening my mail right when you called.  Another corporation that I had written weeks ago just responded with a personal letter.”  I summarized for her: “Although they are not permitted to single out special organizations, the office workers were so moved by your story that they organized their own collections. They have envelopes filled with letters and checks ready to be dropped off at the home – hundreds of dollars – all for the kids!”

I’ll always remember her voice of joy and happiness knowing their dreams were coming true that Christmas.

By this time the local newspapers had picked up the story.

One of the articles read: “Woman Nine Months Pregnant Runs Christmas Drive.”

The article must have struck a vibrant cord in its readers. Later that day, the Sister called again saying, “We are overwhelmed with the goodness in people. People from all walks of life started calling St. Michaels after reading the article in the paper. Our depots became flooded with all kinds of donations – including enough clothing for the entire year!”

The syndicated newspaper column reached children’s homes in other metropolitan areas. They too became involved. A priest in New Jersey sent dozens of transistor radios, sweaters and extra goodies even though their home was struggling as well. This is how deep the love ran for these “once forgotten” children.

A precious letter, with only my name scrawled in large penciled letters, was mailed in care of our “Local Post Office”.

Miraculously, it reached me.

The gentlemen wrote in beautiful, broken English: “I read about you in local newspaper so I should send you a small donation. I was in St. Michaels home many long time ago. I lived there for some years. I can’t now remember. I am 88 years old now, but want to help to your children.  I do hope you do it big!  Beautiful luck to you.”…signed only, Enzo.

Enclosed was five dollars (in cash) in memory of his childhood. Tears filled my eyes.

The snowball effect continued…

Some students at the State University of New York (SUNY) desired to honor the kids by baking a special, candy filled, gingerbread house.

Maria, a single mother of five, filled with thanksgiving by an answered prayer, was moved with compassion. She held a full time job, yet shopped and delivered a carload of presents to the home.

A grandmother, in memory of her granddaughter, Theresa, gave a beautiful record player engraved with all the girls’ names from the home.

The home really started to look like Christmas as a man delivered a huge Christmas tree to the front door in the sleeting snow.

Everything started falling into place as Christmas Eve day arrived.

It was then that I stopped to think about what Sister Marta had told me not too long ago. How on today, Christmas Eve,  some of these kids would board a bus into the city in hopes of a brief reunion with their distraught parents. It made me so sad to think of the ones who would be immediately returned to the home, because their parents didn’t arrive. Then I realized something. In spite of that grim reality, a new hope was born within each of them. These kids boarded that bus with a special love in their heart that was not there before. The children of St. Michaels, who once had no family, finally knew what was like to have people love and care for them unconditionally. Just like a real family would.

I personally had the privilege of delivering the baked goods and some of the presents to St. Michaels that Christmas Eve.

What a sight! What an aroma! Cookies and goodies were everywhere.

Had I not seen it myself, it would have been hard to believe.  It reminded me of my grandmother’s old-fashioned kitchen many years ago. The presents were delivered to a secure location at the home with these simple instructions: The kids would never know where the gifts came from. They were to be given anonymously only letting them know someone cared and loved them.

As that cold day turned into a wintry evening, a well-known, German restaurant closed its doors to the public. That Christmas Eve, the children and staff of St. Michaels were generously treated to an elegant, private holiday dinner where “Ole St. Nick” arrived and gave stockings to each of them.

When the kids and staff returned to the home, a man dressed as Santa arrived with a station wagon filled with presents. He delivered them after a special Christmas Eve Mass that was held at the home. A popular folk singer came with his guitar and brought with him a ten member charismatic choir. The evening ended with everyone singing. Everyone felt special and all were touched. Christmas had finally become fun for the kids, and even more, their hearts were further being filled with hope.

I later learned that the staff had to wait until 3:00 a.m. to deliver the presents for the morning! Excitement kept the kids up that Christmas Eve night.

I was finally able to rest knowing what all of OUR kids would be doing on Christmas morning!

Sister Marta called me early that Christmas day. The once uncertain and cautious nun overflowed with joy and belief. She proclaimed, “The kids were so happy and made to feel like the community. Kids I haven’t seen smile in months came to my door and said ‘Hey Sister, we’re having such a great Christmas!’  I’d like to shout from the rooftops that love still lives, and generosity still exists – beautiful people are right in the middle of our own neighborhoods.”

For Christmas dinner the Sisters and children enjoyed special honey baked chicken with all of the fixins’.

What completed their beautiful dinner? Why homemade cookies of course!

By the end of December all activities were still ongoing and their holiday continued well into the New Year.

So did my son’s birth, by the way. David, was perfectly two weeks late!

Finally, I took a deep breath and remembered my mom’s thoughtful words, “Just Pass It On.” It was then that I realized that her desire had also been fulfilled…There were No Hungry Hearts Here!

Read Part 1 of No Hungry Hearts For Christmas
Read Part 2 of No Hungry Hearts For Christmas
Read Part 3 of No Hungry Hearts For Christmas


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