Random Acts of Zhu Equals Purposeful Inspiration
It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the probability that some kids won't get Christmas this year, that their families either lack the resources, the connections to Santa, or the motivation to provide that wonderful childhood experience. Yet, some of those very children live at The Christmas Box House. They have been taken out of their homes due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and will be spending the holidays there without their families or a visit from the Gift Giver himself. So when Cepia LLC, the makers of ZhuZhu Pets® and Kung Zhu™, provided us with 104 ZhuZhu Pets and asked us to donate them to a local charity and write about the experience, we knew exactly where to take them.
Jyl and I gathered up our kids, packed up the toys, and drove to the House this past Tuesday. We had picked a very busy time of year to be dropping off our donation, so staff members had limited time to assist us, and the whole experience was somewhat rushed. But I kept thinking of those faceless children excitedly opening these presents and the many others that had been donated, on Christmas morning, and hoping they'd like what we had brought and the ZhuZhu people had provided. I was filled with a bittersweet feeling of gladness that we were able to participate in bringing some portion of happiness to them, but sadness that the need even existed in the first place for us, strangers, to provide it to them.
Our kids weren't able to see the kids there, but a staff member told them what the House did in words they could understand. Still, you could tell it was difficult for them to grasp the concept that some kids have difficulty getting Christmas. How could they when they believe Santa is magic? Why would he not visit them too? Of course, my son, at 7, still believes in Santa, and I'm fighting to keep it that way, despite the best efforts of his classmates. Santa, as he understands it, is someone his parents have never met but who they converse with via email to coordinate which presents he will bring, and which they will bring. The parents of the children at The Christmas Box House must not have computers.
Despite all this, what I came away with was a great sense of gratitude for the services the House provides, which are many. They provide not only a temporary home for these children, but also educational support, recreation activities, health services, and therapy. They work with a number of service partners to prevent child abuse by working with at-risk families in their homes. They provide literacy programs for parents. They are also working to provide a program that helps support the thousands of youth aging out of foster care every year. The Christmas Box House International helped over 5,000 children last year.
The ZhuZhu people gave us these products so that, ultimately, we would inspire others to make a difference in their community. There are neglected children literally in our own cities;there is great need, not only at this House but at many others as well. I have seen them, talked with them, played with them. You, even if your time and resources are limited, can help too, believe me. It is so worth it. Please think of The Christmas Box House and other similar charities not only at this time of year, but throughout the year.
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