South Oakland Shelter recently teamed up with several community groups to make a little holiday magic for local families and individuals in need. About 75 clients and guests gathered at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Southfield Dec. 8 for a festive family affair featuring a French toast breakfast and activities for all ages. There was face painting, holiday crafts, games and cookie decorating for the kids. Santa and his elves even dropped in to deliver donated gifts for each of the children.
The adults got in on the fun, too. A white elephant gift exchange provided much-need household supplies, and Stephanie Johnson of Fantastic Faces Makeup Artistry and Cosmetics provided complimentary makeovers. Families in need received new coats and other winter gear, clothing and more at a “popup store” — all free of charge thanks to donors throughout the community. To top it all off, professional photographer Hugh Anderson provided family photos free of charge.
“It is truly moving to witness the joy of giving firsthand, from the scores of donations that poured into our offices to the many dedicated volunteers who donated their time and talents,” said Ryan Hertz, the South Oakland Shelter’s CEO. “Thanks to the community’s generosity, SOS was able to spread goodwill to our neighbors who need it most.”
The gathering was a glorious display of giving and gratitude – and, as experienced volunteer Joanne Sackett says, she wouldn’t trade for the world.
“This is something that really touches my heart, especially the kids,” said Sackett, a St. David’s parishioner since 1973 and chairperson of the holiday breakfast for the past several years. “I just want everybody to have a home of their own.”
The holiday breakfast has become a tradition at St. David’s, a spiritual rock in the Southfield community since 1956. For one week each year, SOS clients also call St. David’s home. In Feburary 2019, the church will serve as a temporary shelter site, Sackett said.
As event chair, Sackett oversees the preparation of the annual breakfast, donated by St. David’s. This year, she had a kitchen crew of 10 volunteers that included her 12-year-old granddaughter.
“I’ve been very blessed,” she says, “and God call us to give back, to reach out.
“Everybody should [volunteer] because it just feels good.”
There’s still time to give to help us build communities that end homelessness. SOS’s Shine Your Light for the Holidays fund-raising campaign runs through Dec. 31, 2018. To donate, visit shineyourlight4theholidays.org to take advantage of a matching offer by our Presenting Sponsor, Epsilon.