Every year since, on a Sunday afternoon as close to Christmas as they can make it, volunteers from Lakeland transform the entire multipurpose room into the Lydia Home Christmas Party, bringing in food, gifts, and games like carpetball and foosball, making sure every detail is perfect.
The kids aren’t the only ones who have fun, the Lydia Home staff who attend are treated to some games of their own.
“One thing that stands out to us at the party is how excited the kids get when their staff win some of the guesstimating prizes,” said Lisa Hanagan, who’s volunteered at the party and during the monthly visits to Lydia home with her husband, Ted, for nearly 12 years. “They cheer and yell for their staff when they win.”
When it’s time to open gifts, each child gets one item to open and a gift card. The items that the kids open are the same for everyone, something that they need, and a Walmart gift card, which the kids can use to get a mix of things they need and things they want, and learn a little bit about how to manage money in the process.
“The Blairs do an amazing job of getting the kids items that they can use and that they appreciate,” said Lisa. “Their faces just light up when they receive their gifts.”
This year, Heide was told that the kids really needed shoes they could wear around the house. When she set out to find the best ones that would fit in the gift budget, she called the customer service department of a shoe store and got an overwhelming response.
“I told her about what we do and about Lydia home. I probably spoke for two minutes, but when I was done, with tears in her voice the woman on the phone said that if I got her the sizes we needed, she would get everything taken care of.”
The Lydia Home Christmas party represents a time for Lakeland to embody the love of Christ to the kids at Lydia home, to give them the best and show them that they matter to God, regardless of their circumstances.