Sharing Christmas Joy with Children
Last year, each of the 100+ children served by LSSI's Intact Family Services were asked what they wanted for Christmas. With the help of Lutheran Church of the Atonement, Barrington, they all got their wish!
Atonement's Adopt-a-Family program began over 30 years ago as a partnership with several other congregations to assist families in need at Christmas. Through the leadership of Bob McGowan and Dale Wittenberg, the program grew. In 2011, they partnered with LSSI to serve children in its programs. Last year they asked for names of 90 children needing gifts. Within 2 weeks, congregants had taken all the requests and asked for more.
LSSI staff work enthusiastically with McGowan, Wittenberg, and Atonement's congregation. The gifts ease the stress parents feel in providing for their children at Christmas as they work to keep their families together and parent successfully.
"I'm of the opinion that it is God's work,” said McGowan. "There are very generous souls here."
"Generosity has certainly been taught here," said Rev. Charisse Jensen, Atonement's Minister of Serving Others. "It's understood that it is just what you do."
Many Atonement families shop together for gifts, and often request children that are their own children's age. It changes people's mindset of "what am I getting?" McGowan said, and instead focuses on giving and what Christmas really means.