Detour · Holiday · Philanthropy

Where Are You Christmas? 

“Why can’t I find you?

Why have you gone away? “

Cindy Lou Who sang it best in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, hands down! (Sorry Faith, I still love you.)

While we all have to deal with some real-life “Grinches,” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again . . . the holidays are a time to be grateful. 

All too often we take for granted the simple luxuries in life, like having a (constant) roof over our head – a place we can call home. 

Close your eyes and think back to your early childhood. Can you imagine not having a roof over your head, or having to constantly question how long you will be able to stay under the one you have? Whether you will like (or feel safe with) the people who take you in? And at Christmas, 

Will Santa find you? 


I can’t. 

Three years ago, when we found out we couldn’t have (our own) children (see post Does Everything (Really) Happen for a Reason), I decided to get involved in an organization that helped children (see post Who Will You Hatch) in hopes that it would provide some sort of clarity as to what we should do to start our own family.

Adopt? 

Foster? 

Have 10 (ok, 2) French Bulldogs and no kids? 

  

 Let’s just say we aren’t quite there yet when it comes to a decision. To be quite honest, we are still sorta waiting for something to fall in our laps. I mean, everything happens for a reason, right? Might as well follow the signs and take life as it comes, at this point. 

When life hands you lemons…The world is your oyster… yada, yada, yada.

While researching options for one of my assigned Junior Auxiliary service projects last year around Christmastime, I was put in contact with one of the five founders (all women) of another organization that I will likely become more involved with over the next few years, the ROCK Foundation

While I am a big fan of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (he is really, really, ridiculously, good looking, philanthropic, AND shares my love of Frenchies). . .  

No, this doesn’t involve that Rock. 

This ‘ROCK’ Foundation stands for Resilience Of Coastal Kids in South Mississippi.  

I believe in signs, and all too often I find myself going back to this ROCK founder for various reasons, most recently regarding Christmas donations.

Through my latest ‘giving back’ themed holiday blog posts, I’ve had friends and relatives reaching out to me left and right asking me what they can do, or who they can give various items to (which is awesome, btw) and I am doing my best to spread the love to organizations other than those I am directly involved with. That being said, the ROCK Foundation is always in the back of my mind. Is there a reason for this

A few weeks ago, one of my girlfriends let me know that she had a brand-spanking- new (in the box) Barbie Dreamhouse her family would love to donate and asked for my input on where to bring it. Without hesitation, I immediately thought of reaching out to Amanda, said founder of ROCK. 

I just KNEW she would have the perfect family for it to go to, and she did! A local ‘mother’ of not one, but four foster children. Christmas is pretty challenging for foster parents to say the least, and “they appreciate anything”, Amanda explained. 

Based in Gulfport, Mississippi, the ROCK Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness of and make a difference in the lives of innocent children who have been a victim of abuse or neglect. These children have been taken from their homes for various reasons and placed with foster parents or in the local youth shelters. They are afraid and confused, and in need of love, care, and nurturing. The children’s ages range from newborn to 18 years.

The main goal of the ROCK Foundation is to help these children adjust to their new living situation and let them know that there are people out there who care about them. They also aim to increase awareness of the need for community involvement, foster parents, and even adoption. They have a storage bank of clothes, shoes, toys, and personal items donated by local businesses and individuals, and they try their very best to provide every child that comes into the system with something. They also host holiday parties, outings, picnics and other entertainment for them. Most of the children brought into the foster care system or placed into these youth shelters are not accustomed to the “simple luxuries” we often take for granted.

There are more than 850 children currently placed in local shelters and foster care in the three lower counties of the Mississippi Gulf Coast alone, and this number changes on a daily basis.

Shortly after I contacted Amanda, this local newspaper article popped up on my Facebook newsfeed:

http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/article118824108.html

…which prompted this blog post and a number of google searches. 

Here is some additional (eye opening) info Google provided for me:

If ONE family from each church could adopt or foster ONE child, Mississippi could be the first state to have no children waiting to be adopted in foster care.

If you search ‘Mississippi Foster System’, you will notice terms like “broken” and “stretched too far” and “crisis” all but jump off the screen. While our state is attempting to pick up the broken pieces of our foster care system, these children still desperately need us (the people blessed with day-to-day luxuries like running water, electricity, food to eat, and the aforementioned roofs over our heads). 

“My world is changing

I’m rearranging

Does that mean Christmas changes too?”

So today (exactly two weeks before Christmas) is my last push for holiday giving. Then I will get off my proverbial ‘soapbox‘ for a while. 

The ROCK Foundation needs your help. They lost their largest toy donor this year and still need more than 700 toys to provide local foster care children this Christmas. 

MS Gulf Coast folks:


While ROCK delivers toys to children all the way through Christmas Day (and sometimes after due to extenuating circumstances), please try your best to shop for a toy (or three!) this week and bring it to one of the drop-off locations listed above.  They would like to have as many toys as possible prior to their Annual Christmas Party, which is this Friday, December 17. 

If you are all shopped out or don’t live locally: 

Not to worry, you can donate to the ROCK Foundation via their webpage. I can’t stress enough that no amount is too small. 

www.rockfoundationforkids.org

To simply send a Christmas Card to a ROCK Foundation child (these mean more than you know), here is the address:  

Post Office Box 2684, Gulfport MS 39503


If you would like to grant a foster child’s specific wish:

You can do so online by visiting the following website where you can browse through hundreds of wishes posted on behalf of foster and ‘at risk’ children across the U.S: 

https://www.onesimplewish.org/

Please, please, PLEASE: 

No matter what outlet you choose, help these children receive the magic of Christmas and believe that Santa knows exactly where they are at all times, no matter what their current living circumstance may be. 

“If there is love in your heart and your mind

You will feel like Christmas all the time

Oh, I feel you Christmas

I know I’ve found you

You never fade away, oh

The joy of Christmas

Stays here inside us

Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas

Fill your heart with Love. “

Cover Photo by Carol Wilmot-Sullivan, owner of CW Designs, deep in the heart of (McKinney,) Texas. 

Known as ‘the map chick’, she loves designing custom maps, invitations and announcements for weddings, events, and businesses (AND for great causes, obv!)  Her true love is creating one of a kind maps–Fun fact: It all started as a kid in the back seat of her family car traversing America with her Scottish mother and a Rand McNally map. 

She is so happy to be doing what she loves and to have the fortune of meeting great people from all around the world.

I am lucky to have ‘met’ her via 1 of 3 of her Etsy shop sites.

If you are interested in the fun little (personalized) Santa map shown, here is the info/link for purchase: 

CW Designs World SANTA MAP. Family Personalized 8×10 Digital Download or 11×14 Premium Art Print or Canvas by cwdesigns2010 on Etsy–mention ‘Lyonhearted’ in the comments at checkout and 30% of your proceeds will go to The ROCK Foundation:

http://etsy.me/2h1kI07 
Be sure to check out her website and follow her on social media: 

www.cws-designs.com

https://www.facebook.com/CWDesigns2010/ 

💜

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