The ballroom in the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center exploded with Christmas presents. Each of the tables were piled high with gifts for families in the Mission area who asked for some help with the holidays this year.
About 50 volunteers from the city of Mission and neighboring businesses (including Hy-Vee and Kohl’s) poured countless hours into the city’s holiday adoption program. The city’s holiday adoption program received more than $17,000 in cash donations as well as hundreds of toys, tools, personal hygiene items, clothes and a variety of stocking stuffers for 66 families.
“People are just so generous,” said Suzie Gibbs, coordinator of the holiday adoption program.
And a total of 91 families in the Mission area received a food basket for their Christmas meal this year. Volunteers also picked up toys for the family cats and dogs. The municipal judge’s son stuffed 61 stockings with personal hygiene items.
“This makes a difference to our local families, and most of the people that come in and receive the presents are people who already work very hard,” said Fiorella Schlossmacher, one of the volunteers and councilmember Nick Schlossmacher’s wife. “This is a huge help for them, and it just makes their Christmas better.”
And everything came together just in time for Christmas, when the families came to pick up donated food and gifts Friday afternoon.
“It’s just a great way for everyone to give back to people in the local community,” said councilmember Nick Schlossmacher.
One local participant — who is caring for her grandchildren while their parents get back on their feet — said she will be able to give her family a good Christmas.
“It’s a blessing because the kids (her grandchildren) can give something to their mom and dad, and we can give them things from their mom and dad,” she said.
Gibbs said it’s important to keep up the program because of the wonderful service it provides for local families.
“Christmas should be special; Christmas should be happy,” Gibbs said. “Everybody should be able to enjoy a meal, and everybody should be able to enjoy a few gifts. And if we can make one family happy one day of the year, that’s what we want to do.”