Let me tell a story of how it all started, and where we’re going next.
In October of 2020, two girls named Jen + Ale (pronounced Ah-lay) got fed up with everything in 2020 being cancelled and thought, “2020 better not cancel Christmas! Wait, we need to do something about that.” So they launched “Operation: Christmas is Not Cancelled”: a giveaway with a mission to give 10,000 kids quality toys through Toys for Tots, while supporting our troops through The USO.
With your support, we exceeded our expectations.
Days before the campaign closed, we were still shy of our 10,000 toy goal by about 800 toys. Many of you reached out and asked how else you could help. You started spreading the mission on your social media to help us get the word out. And your friends started getting involved too, and we got closer and closer to our 10,000 toy goal. Then Green Toys stepped up to the plate and donated the remaining 434 toys to get us to the finish line! And then, a couple of days later, we received another donation of 380 toys from Sunny Days Entertainment. All in all, we were able to give 10,380 children Christmas gifts. And that's when we realized, Christmas Is Not Cancelled wasn’t just two girls with a goal. It was an entire online community of world changers, and our work was just getting started.
Cut to Jen meeting Bob Dalton, the founder of Sackcloth + Ashes. You see, when you purchase one of Sackcloth + Ashes amazing blankets, they donate another awesome blanket to a person currently experiencing homelessness. Bob had recently learned of the connection between foster care and homelessness, and he knew Jen cared deeply about the issue. What’s the connection? 50% of people who are homeless grew up in foster care. So to break the cycle, we have to step into someone’s story earlier in their life. We have to let these precious children know they are seen, not forgotten. They are someone. So Bob asked Jen what charities she felt he should know. And of course, she pointed Bob to Childhelp.
So Jen took Bob and his incredible team at Sackcloth + Ashes on a tour of Childhelp’s Children’s Village in Virginia. And at the end of the tour, they got to chatting. Jen thanked Bob for his incredible work and heart for others, and Bob asked Jen what else she wanted to do for kids in need. And Childhelp’s amazing CDO Michael Medoro chimed in, “Yes, what can we do together?” Then Bob told Jen about Comfort Cases, then Jen told Bob about City Serve. It was a long but world changing conversation, but I’ll cut to the best part: Jen called Ale with their next campaign.
Jen to Ale: “Ale! We’re going to host a Christmas in July campaign”
Ale to Jen: “Okay. What’s the mission?”
Jen: “Remember that backpack thing we’ve been talking about?”
And then we got super excited, freaked out, and got to work. Then one day, Ale called Jen and said, what about a summer camp? And so began “Camp Christmas in July”.
So here’s the deal: Every Christmas in July, we’re going to host a giveaway to help give children currently in foster care, or those at risk of entering foster care, backpacks full of quality school supplies. And world changers, we’re in this together. So every summer, we’re going to host “Camp Christmas in July”: an interactive virtual camp where we can come together as a community to have fun, play games and create lasting friendships as we support our common goal of helping kids in need.
Oh! And we’re going to host our big Christmas campaign for Toys for Tots every October-December too.
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