GIVING BACK TO THOSE THAT PAY IT FORWARD
Miss F was nominated by a good friend who described her, despite her ALS diagnosis, as the Mother Theresa of her world. We read her story and KNEW she was a woman we wanted to Sparkle. A short snippet of the nomination:
"[Miss F] has 'Paid It Forward,' as your philosophy purports, her entire life, and particularly her professional career....She is presently financially challenged due to her decreased income because of the effects of the [the disease]."
The volunteers who delivered her gifts came back telling stories of her warm heart and open arms. We recently received this note of gratitude:
"I have just had the most incredible Christmas that I have ever had thanks to you and your organization. Watching my grand children's eyes as they opened one present after another - turning to me and saying "can I open this one too" - brought joy to my heart like I have not felt since I was told that I had ALS. I didn't have a Christmas tree for the past years - the pictures with the tree all lit and the kids tearing into copious packages was beyond words. My good friend came and decorated the tree with her daughter and it was really beautiful and the smell was wonderful. My children all barely make it financially and I do not let them give me presents for Christmas - they give me pictures in frames and nice things that do not cost much. I have not opened that many presents in years - so many useful things as well as frivolous and pretty things. I have thanked God over and over again and now I send you a heart felt thank you. I told my grandchildren we were visited by the Angel Gabriel - messenger from God. I am so grateful."
Thank you, Miss F, for letting us be a part of your life.
Leaving a bit of Sparkle wherever we go
Miss N's story spoke to many of us at the Sparkle Foundation for a number of reasons: She reached out to us when so many mothers won't, she has a preemie and an older son, and she has overcome the many obstacles of her life with a smile on her face and the attitude that if you are kind and good, life will work out.
"I am a single mother of two boys, 7 and 7 months. ... When I was pregnant this January, I had to call the police on my newest relationship because I was afraid of him ... We had met in a 12 step program (I have 8 years) and started dating, moved in, and got pregnant pretty quick. Soon after I learned I was having a high risk pregnancy, still working full time. I went into the hospital and had to have [my baby] due to severe preeclampsia. I was a deliver a 1 1/2 pound baby or we'd both die. We stayed in the NICU for 90 days in San Francisco. He came home on a feeding tube in late May. Thankfully my one pound miracle is now doing well at 13 pounds. And his brother is as sweet as can be with him.
I am struggling with no support from the baby's dad. He decided to start using while my son was fighting for his life that first week at the hospital so he's not involved. He's seen him a few times this last 7 months for an hour or so each. I don't have enough extra after daycare to even file for child support. Thankfully my oldest has a good dad and helpful grandpa, but doing this alone in an expensive county is hard."
A few days before Christmas, we received this note:
"I wanted to say thank you again, as I sit here covered in glitter from all the bows on the presents for my family... but I would expect you guys to leave some sparkle everywhere you go. It will be my goal to do the same.
...I've been feeling guilty that this was going to be the first year with no Christmas tree. But I knew my 'village' would make sure the boys had what they needed. Sparkle Foundation is now forever part of our world. I'm still in shock over the immense amount of giving and support.
This is the first year I've ever reached out for support, but the situations that ensued and people reaching out for a way to help made it easier.
I'm forever grateful for the support for baby's first Christmas and a magical Christmas for a little boy who still believes in Santa. I think now, I do too."
Sparkle and a deserving Single mom
Miss K was nominated by a friend who summed up K's situation as such:
"[K] a single mother of two who has been struggling and fighting to keep her head above water for the 8 years that I have known her. Like pretty much all mothers, her needs come well after her children. I cannot say when I have seen her with anything new for herself. The family recently had to move out of the home they had been in since the children were born. The rent went up, the space did not. Still [K] manages to keep her head up and her children strong. There is no doubt in my mind that she is an excellent and most deserving candidate."
This is the story of so many women and we wanted to honor her situation, recognize that we see her, and bring a bit of Sparkle back into her life. Our goal was to take what can become a burden and make it a celebration of their family. We received the following note just a few days ago:
"I can not thank you enough for the amazing surprise you gave me and my family
with all of these gifts! I was so surprised, I could not begin to show you how touched
I was by you and your Foundation when I met you Tuesday, but was and am very
overcome with love and peace and happiness by these gifts.
My heart is full of gratitude for the generosity you have shown us. This will be the
finest Christmas my family has ever seen! We have been through such very difficult
times, and I have been very sad, worried, and stressed about managing everything
on my own. My spirits have been so low, and you have brought me so much joy and
good energy. I truly feel that people care, and am shocked at how generous and amazing
your program is. You have given us so much, I feel very happy and blessed. You have
given us so much more than things, you have given me a deeper sense of connection to
my community and world. You have brought me the love and kindness of strangers,
and have filled my heart with your caring hearts and magnanimous love. You have
brought me hope and joy in a time when I was beginning to lose hope and joy.
You have given us a Christmas, when there would have been almost nothing.
Thank you so much for what you have done!!! You are an incredible person and
this organization is a phenomenal place.
I am touched so very deeply by your actions and know it will bring so much joy
to my children. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know I cannot thank you enough for your caring, compassion and kindness, but
want you to know how sincerely grateful I am to you for helping my family in this lovely way.
Wishing all of you great joy and happiness and a very Happy Holidays!!!!"
Thank you, Miss K, for all that you do for your family! We were so happy to make your holiday outstanding.