by Kathy Marson
SPOKANE, Wash., December 11, 2014 - KEEH, Spokane’s Positive Life Radio Station, held a Christmas party for children from three local shelters. Over 35 children and 25 moms from the YWCA, Ogden Hall Women’s Shelter and the Union Gospel Mission caught a ride on Palisades Christian Academy’s school bus to come to the party the evening of December 8.
When the children with their moms arrived at PCA, KEEH staff along with about 10 PCA students helped with organized games, crafts, face painting, cookie decorating and snacks. One of the crafts was to make a photo frame. Then during the evening Ruth Lenz, teacher at PCA, took a photo of them with Frosty and placed the photo in their frame.
This party was personal for Tiffany Neil, KEEH officer manager, as she experienced homelessness as a child and could identify with the children. She said her favorite part was "When they opened their gifts and were genuinely grateful." Each child received a present and each mother received a gift bag. Just before these were handed out, Frosty the Snowman, AKA Darin Patzer the station manager, read a Bible Christmas story to the children.
Many of the children said, "Thank you" to Darin. One of the mothers gave Cheryl Wallace, one of the adult volunteers, a big bear hug and said, "Thank you so much. You don't understand how much this means to me!"
The thanks warms the hearts of the volunteers as well. Darin Patzer said, “Of the many community events we are involved in each year, this one is at the top for me. So many of these little kids don’t have dad’s, so their lives are not easy and often lonely. To see their joyful smiles or to have a child want to give you a hug, you just feel a little of Jesus’ love flowing through.”
This party happened thanks to a lot of volunteers who wrapped gifts, loaded bags into cars, helped set up at the party and organized the games and crafts. Ten PCA students and several adult volunteers gave their evening hours to assist. The appreciation from the kids and moms made it all worthwhile.
If you would like to learn how to coordinate a shelter party, for children who might not otherwise experience Christmas, contact KEEH-FM at: 509-456-4870 (or KEEH@plr.org).