Volunteers gathered in the morning light at Bayview Mission inside the garage-turned-production area, awaiting Santa’s arrival while packing grocery care bags and diapers for families with infants and toddlers. Soon, Santa sat ready and families lined up to have their photo. Some children gasped with joy and excitement, some felt a little scared of the big white beard, while others looked up in wonder at this visitor for Christmas named Santa Claus.
Life at Bayview Mission continues to be amazing. For example, a family came forward with numerous gifts and a check for their holiday meal. We are also working with one very special young family. Their son (whose name we will keep private) was being teased at school because he was wearing dirty clothes. Bayview Mission went to Target and purchased 4 pants, 3 shirts, underwear in addition to a laundry card, and then we bought his favorite snack: goldfish crackers. When I called his mother and asked that she bring a cart to Bayview Mission, she hesitated and answered, “Oh, I need to fix mine.”
I replied, “More good news: we have a new cart waiting for someone who could use one!”
All in all, we have built a beautiful relationship with this little family. Last year, the boy was taken from his mother and placed in foster care. It turns out that he was not eating well and his living situation was unbearable. Now, however, he has been reunited with his mom and dad, and they live just around the corner of Bayview Mission! We are making a difference! Our Grace Cathedral community’s generosity, along with our wider community at large, is having a visible, measurable, positive impact in our world.
This energetic, soft spoken boy is only 7 years old yet he has a vibrant spirit within. He loves art, especially origami paper. With his immediate needs for clothing, nightwear (sleepers), hats, jackets, and food being met, his sense of belonging and being accepted is blossoming. He came to Bayview Mission and played with the other children in the playground, a big smile across his face. He felt happy.
Then there was the Christmas Party for our Seniors at Bayview Mission.
Shhhh, it was a complete surprise! In advance of the holiday celebration, our seniors came by for warm coats, clothing, hand-knit hats, food, and household items. They were then asked for the names and ages of their grandchildren. An “elf” later brought, for Christmas, one age appropriate toy for each child when the seniors came in December. The grandparents wrapped the gift(s) and took them home to present to their grandchild/grandchildren. Fabulous!
Thank you to all who brought the true spirit of giving and the warmth of the holiday season to Bayview Mission. Know that you have made a difference and continue to do so each and every day that you share your spirit.
Photography by Tracee Zyla