Last month, Gravitate was presented with a special opportunity to sponsor three families in need, and provide them with a Christmas they will never forget. We partnered with Kari Brooks and her husband Derek, one of our members, to find three families through the Des Moines Schools and to determine each family member's wish list! Gravitate members purchased gifts for the families from an Amazon wishlist or donated money for the organizers to purchase gifts on their behalf. The generosity was overwhelming. You can learn more about the three families in this previous blog post. Below is a thank you from Kari, the project leader:
On Thursday, December 21st we were able to deliver amazing Christmas surprises to three families in Des Moines, thanks to your generosity and thoughtfulness.
I know many people have been asking about the families who received these donations, and it's not for lack of appreciation that they weren't public. You see, there is an amount of pride that comes with providing your family with a Christmas they will love.
Two of the three families requested that the gifts be delivered while their kids were at school, in order to surprise them. As if Santa really does come to visit. :) In order to respect their privacy, but also express their gratitude, please know their faces lit up when the gifts were delivered and continuous thanks were expressed. I am certain those families had a great Christmas morning.
As for the third family...the family is new to this country and were able to celebrate their first Christmas ever. Well, their excitement and appreciation were like nothing I have ever seen! I was able to meet the students at their house when the bus dropped them off. The entire family came out to the car (some too excited to even put shoes on!) and shrieked with excitement as we unloaded gifts. We talked about gift tags, and how they determine who each gift is for. Some of the littles didn't even wait until they were back in the house to tear open the first presents they have ever received! When Hussein saw the Christmas lights, we explained that they were to decorate his Christmas tree. The entire family clapped and screamed while jumping up and down! We stayed to help set up the tree and hang the lights. In that time, all of the gifts were opened and the house looked just like a Christmas morning, with six children, should look! We didn't need to speak the same language to understand the amount of excitement, magic and appreciation that happened that afternoon. It was amazing!
This entire project was a whirlwind for me. It was stressful, exciting, heart wrenching and stunning...and so incredibly worth it all. This was a memorable Christmas for these families thanks to your time, contributions and consideration. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sprit!
- Kari Brooks
Donation Tree, the numbers:
Total family members: 16
Number of store visits: 13
Number of individual donations: over 35
Total donated: over $3,000 worth of gifts and monetary donations
Gifts purchased: over 230 items
Boxes wrapped and delivered: 86
Height of Kari's Old Navy receipt: over 7 feet
This was an incredible experience for all involved. We are so humbled by the generosity displayed here at Gravitate and thank all of you for big hearts to help those less fortunate. If you would like to see more photos from the project, check out this album created by Derek.
Abby Rowling is the community manager at Gravitate Downtown. She is a startup enthusiast and has a passion for the Des Moines community. She serves as treasurer of the female art's collective the DSM Girl Gang Collective and is the founder of the annual donation drive Red Alert. You can find her on Instagram at @fancyabby