We at ISSA had an eventful weekend as we teamed up with Interfaith in Action, the Newman Catholic Center, the Navigators, and the Jain Student Association to make the holidays a little brighter for some families in need right here in Chambana.
First, we gathered at the Newman Catholic Center to mingle with our peers, create groups, and assign families to shop for. My group, which was the most ISSA-heavy of all the groups, chose to shop for a local family with three young girls and one little boy.
Then it was off to a local Wal-Mart, where we got to indulge our inner children with a shopping spree in the toys section.
We heard one of the little girls loved Pokemon, so naturally we rushed to that aisle first. After a few minutes of passionate argument over which Pokemon was best for a six year old girl, we made our choice and moved on to the rest of the family.
We heard the little boy loved cars, trucks, and trains (what little boy doesn't?), so we got him a set of hot wheels and a big firetruck that makes loud, realistic siren and honking sounds. I made sure to apologize to the family in advance for that one.
We picked up some art supplies for the other two girls then hastily wrapped up the presents in the trunk of the car and headed out to West Champaign to meet up with our designated family.
Here we are all gathered with the family in the living room. We hung out for about an hour and a half, talking and joking and...
...racing with Hot Wheels cars...
...and playing with Smokey the Cat.
When we left one of the girls gave us this adorable thank you card. I've hardly been able to stop smiling since I put it up over my desk. My face hurts.
Now I've been likened to Ebeneezer Scrooge more times than I can remember, but I loved doing this and I can't wait to do it again next year. I don't care that the event was centered around Christmas. It was honestly one of the most rewarding moments of my life. We got to help a family going through some hard times and makes some kids feel good in a special time of year.