At the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri we are fortunate to receive an excess of donations from time to time. One of our favorite things to do with donations that we do not have a need for is to pass them through to our families. Several times a year (and sometimes several times a month) you will find tables in our entryway full of everything from bread to toys for parents to take.
This past winter, we were fortunate enough to have other Boys & Girls Clubs partner with us to give some our families that were struggling a normal Christmas. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Bentonville came to Joplin to provide Christmas gifts for dozens of our Club kids. One of those children was a first grader named Wyatt.
Wyatt had been attending the Boys & Girls Club for about a year. He comes from a single parent household that was happy to have a place Wyatt enjoyed going after school so they could work longer hours. In August 2011, Wyatt’s mother was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. Through treatments she has not been able to work and was struggling with the holidays coming up. Wyatt was an easy choice for the Club as one of the children to be on the Christmas assistance list.
A couple of weeks before Christmas the Boys & Girls Clubs were able to provide Wyatt’s mother with so many gifts she needed garbage bags to carry them all. The Bentonville Clubs also brought gifts for the parents, which meant that Wyatt would be able to give his mother something.
Wyatt’s mother said recently what “a wonderful thing and one more of my prayers was taken care of. If it wasn’t for the Boys & Girls Club of Joplin, Wyatt and I would not have had much of a Christmas”. It is the moments when you see parents cry because they are so relieved that we know our organization goes beyond just being a safe place for kids, helping them finish homework, or teaching them basketball skills. We truly impact the whole family and they become a part of our family. We give assistance when it is needed most and help celebrate when things get better.