By Kathy French

    Thank you for sharing your light!

    Have you ever complained about the chaos of Christmas and been secretly (or not so secretly) relieved when it’s over?  In the mad rush to celebrate and decorate, shop and visit, sometimes we lose the meaning.

    Here at Vera Lloyd, the music, the decorations, the gifts, the parties…it’s all precious because we’re creating happy memories and teaching our boys and girls the true meaning of love and family.

    The boys and girls at Vera Lloyd are working to heal from the pain of abuse, neglect, abandonment or adjudication.  Not only are they dealing with painful backgrounds, but they are trying to find a new normal during what is supposed to be the happiest time of year.  Your gifts share a ray of hope in their darkness, and tell them that they are valued and not alone.

    Please enjoy a quick snapshot into one of our Monticello homes this holiday season…

    Trimble Home shares abundance.

    On December 22nd, Joe came to live at Trimble House.  The house was decorated and scents of cookies and candy filled the air, but the chaos of life left him little anticipation for what he would find on Christmas morning.  When asked what he would like to receive, his only requests were a soccer ball and a watch for his sister.                

    On Christmas Eve, after all the boys had gone to bed, Michael and Melissa Brock, Trimbles’ house parents, had much to prepare. Mrs. Brock began cooking at 4am including peeling 15 pounds of mashed potatoes!  Gifts were arranged with care, and Joe awoke to find so much more than a soccer ball.

    In fact, Mrs. Brock shared that Joe was shocked at the number of gifts under the tree with his name on them.  Over and over Joe asked if these presents were really for him.He was overcome with emotion and started to cry.  Long after all the other boys had finished, Joe was still reeling.Mrs. Brock sat beside him on the floor, and encouraged him until he finally finished unwrapping his gifts.  Later, they shared a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.  The youth ate all the mashed potatoes, and also enjoyed ham, chicken and dressing, sweet potato casserole, fruit salad and pecan pie.

    On December 27th, the fun continued with a trip to Little Rock to go shopping.  The boys visited Westover Hills Presbyterian church, and had lunch and fun in the church gym.As the season came to an end, Joe echoed the sentiments of many in the house…this was the best Christmas they had ever had.  For some it was the first ‘real’ Christmas they had ever experienced…

    You might be surprised when you hear how much upheaval the children who come to Vera Lloyd face before they walk through our doors.  This year alone, there were six children admitted to our care in the week before Christmas.Our team works diligently to transform their chaos into peace and hope.  For those who chose to donate gift cards: please know that this is one way we are able to ensure that every child enjoys gifts from their lists under the tree.  For kids, who have come to expect so little from life, to ask and receive, is more powerful than many of us can imagine.

    From all of us at Vera Lloyd, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas.We also pray that these stories inspire you to see the difference you make, and that you continue to experience the joy, beauty, and meaning of the Christmas in this New Year.

    Your Light and Generosity shine into the darkness to shine Christ’s healing love.

    Thank you for sharing the true meaning of the season with boys and girls at Vera Lloyd.

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