When asked to write about the The WARM Place and their service, Santa Calls, I wasn’t quite sure I qualified. You see, The WARM (What About Remembering Me) Place is a Texas-based non-profit organization which offers grief support to children and their families for any child who has experienced the loss of a loved one. It was founded in 1984 by Peggy Bhome who lost her 14-year old son and saw a need for her nine-year old daughter to be able to mourn the loss of her brother. Ms. Bhome partnered with Dr. John Richardson, a prominent Texas pediatrician, and the first children’s grief center in their county opened its doors to eight families.
Today, over 30,00 children and their families have found support through The WARM Place, at no cost to them. When a child (and their family) becomes a part of The WARM Place family, they are offered grief counseling, along with age-appropriate activities and discussion groups. The program is funded through individuals, corporations and foundations who offer a financial gift to the grief support program, while relying on donations for everything from kitchen supplies, to cleaning & office supplies.
As someone who did not experience this kind of significant loss as a child, you can probably understand why I wouldn’t feel very qualified to speak about this program, other than to share with you what the program does, along with my heartfelt appreciation for what they are doing for the children and families in their community.
But Christmas. I know Christmas. I know what it means to be a child who crawls into bed on Christmas Eve and wait for the jingle bells to start ringing outside the bedroom window at my grandparents’ house, joyfully announcing Santa’s arrival. I know the feeling of expectation and the hope that my Christmas wish list actually made it to the workshop so the elves could deliver on their promise. Even as an adult, I still play along when Dad writes “From: Santa” on the gift tag. “Looks like Santa was paying attention this year!” wink wink
Whether you believe in him or not, Santa, to a child, is the real deal. He is the one that can make Christmas dreams come true. He does eat the cookies and drink the milk, he knows Rudolph, and he is the jolliest man that ever did live.
And this is where I get really, REALLY excited for one particular service The WARM Place has provided for 22 years: ”Santa Calls”. As part of their fundraising initiative each year, over 100 volunteers don Santa hats and jingle bells for two nights in December. Each of them calls a child and talks to them in detail about their family, their activities, school, pets, and of course, their Christmas wish list! Children throughout the country are connected to Santa through a loving donation of $20, either by their parent/guardian, or through others’ donations made through www.thewarmplace.org.
Here’s an example of sweet Lizzie receiving a call from Santa…it’s a beautiful testament to the joy that Santa puts on a child’s face. This has become a family tradition and each year Lizzie’s family requests the same Santa.
All donations raised through the Santa Calls event go back to help fund the incredible mission of The WARM Place. Their goal this year is $35,000. If you’d like to be a part of this year’s Santa Calls, you can go here to make a general donation, donate a call, or purchase a call. If your company would like to be a sponsor, more information and a sponsorship agreement can be found here. Or you can make a direct donation to The WARM Place through their various ways to give.
This Christmas, when deciding how to use your money to bless others, please keep The WARM Place: Santa Calls at top of mind, knowing that your small donation is not only helping to bring the jolliest man on earth into the lives and hearts of little ones across the country for one night, but is also helping The WARM Place’s mission of bringing peace & joy to grieving children daily.