Sunday, December 4, 2022

It’s that time of year. Let’s make a difference!

Just like years past, each holiday season we choose a few families, individuals, or organizations who could use a little holiday cheer as they are doing their very best to rise up through hard times and life’s challenges. This year we will start with these BEAUTIFUL people and INSPIRING projects:

In California...
A single dad, a gentle and humble man, who works day and night to pay rent and have enough food to eat for his two children, a young grandchild, and a niece. In addition to working as a handyman and painter, he is now studying for his contactors license to improve his ability to provide for his family. He is always upbeat and smiling, and operates out of a deep love for his family and for always doing what is right. Let’s make him smile even bigger by providing a Christmas dinner and some gifts for his family. 

Ebony with student Jake

New Orleans, Louisiana...

Ebony lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with her two teenage boys. She is a cafeteria worker, who made everyone feel at home. Unfortunately, her story is not unique to the average lower SES wage earner in New Orleans. What is unique is her overwhelming positivity, genuine kindness and infectious smile, despite the family burdens she selflessly carries.

Here’s a story about Ebony from Jake, a student from Tulane. "I can’t put my finger on the day, but I know within my first week of school she became my 'New Orleans Mama' and it continues today. We talk weekly, she remains ever positive, but I know her struggles continue. In summary, she works 6 days a week for Tulane. The minimum wage was somewhere in the ballpark of $8 per hour during my student years. She has raised her two boys without the support of the boys’ father, and her two -bedroom house now sleeps a handful of nieces and nephews. She lost two nephews this year to home invasion violence. When not working on campus for minimum wage - she makes sure her family is staying out of trouble in her neighborhood, helping with their homework assignments and attending their sports games. She works tirelessly, without complaint, just to make sure her family can eat a solid meal every night. Ebony is struggling to make ends meet and is left with hardly anything by the end of the month to take care of herself. Ebony brings so much good to this world and is deserving of every bit of help she could get. For a woman who gives everything within her power and beyond, I hope we can help make her life a little bit easier."
In Amsterdam...
This past fall we came together to support a young family from Ukraine. Bogdon, his wife, Yulia, and kids Lev and David. Their home in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine was destroyed in the shelling of a shopping center very close to them and they lost everything. They fled Ukraine to Poland and then to Amsterdam to start a new life. We raised funds for their hotels, gas, food, and for a place to stay for the first month in Amsterdam. They are finally settling in, with Bogdon working part time, their 7-year old now starting school and younger brother looking for a kindergarten. They reported that "there is a holiday in Holland, and 
everyone is waiting for the arrival of the sinterklas… it's like Santa Claus.” This sweet family is starting over with nothing but a carload of their life’s possessions and are doing their very best to keep a positive attitude and food on the table during a very hard time of adjustment for all of them.

In Prison...
This holiday season we would like to support those broken and separated from loved ones due to being incarcerated, with a special focus on those who are dying in prison. The Humane Prison Hospice Project is committed to implementing end of life care in prisons by supporting and training prisoners to be caregivers to the dying. In addition, our dear friend Pastor Alan Leigh is putting together holiday gift packages for the 900 men currently incarcerated at Halawa State Prison in Hawaii. Everyone needs and deserves to be loved. Let’s shine our holiday light on them, too!

Stove with Cooktop
In Ukraine... thousands are freezing cold, hungry, without power, and trying to survive in a country whose infrastructure is being decimated. Our contacts in Ukraine include an Irish soldier and a Ukrainian volunteer who are making wood burning stoves that
Stoves Hand Made in Ukraine

not only provide heat, but also have a flat top for cooking. They are currently being manufactured in Ukraine for approximately $100 to $150 each. Let’s help keep some Ukrainian families warm this winter!
Staff at Ukrainian Shelter

These are pictures of the stoves with cooktop capabilities we are ordering and having made in Ukraine. The group photo was taken at a shelter about 4 hours into Ukraine in a town called Ivano Frankvisk. This is part of the dedicated staff of this shelter that houses about 100 people that are too ill or incapable of traveling. Dave, and Irish soldier, delivers about 4 tons of food there once a month to keep them alive and healthy.

This is just some of our holiday giving. We will keep going as long as we can! Please share with us if you know of anyone who we might be able to add to our growing list. Remember that 100% of ALL donations goes directly to those we serve. And thank you all so much for your kind and generous hearts. As we pass another year of ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and hard times, we continue to be so, so grateful for the love, friendship, support, generosity, kindness, compassion and grace that you all bring to our lives.

Take care of yourself and those you love,

All of us at Dream of a Better World!