Families get help from holiday charities

  It’s Christmas morning. Kids rip off their blankets and race down the hall towards the living room, picturing their tree surrounded by an abundance of presents. One of the happiest days of the year right? Though for some children Christmas morning isn’t quite as cheery and bright. For they wake up to little to no gifts under the tree, and for some there isn’t even a tree. Most children couldn’t even imagine a Christmas without all of their gifts, gizmos, and a glorious feasts, but it’s a reality for some. 

    There are several different organizations that host Adopt-A-Family programs. When a person participates in an Adopt a Family program, they typically sponsor a certain family and provide funds for gifts and sometimes Christmas dinner. The sponsored families are usually struggling in one way or another. Whether it be financially, physically, or emotionally, volunteers in these programs make sure that they are well provided for. 

    Tyler Lorance a Springfield entrepreneur, has been adopting families for Christmas since 2008. It began when a woman he knew started a program called Women In Need (WIN), which provides assistance to single mothers.WIN helps mothers in a number of ways. They assist in their financial needs, paying off their bills, rent, or debt. The program also helps find better jobs for unemployed mothers, and even give money to their families so they can have Christmas presents that year. 

 “There is no better feeling than helping someone else in their time of need. I get a great deal of joy from helping, and it makes me feel like helping them will inspire them to help someone else someday when they see someone in need,” Lorance said.

   Over the years, Lorance has provided a variety of services to help families. He has bought gifts for both kids and adults, along with clothes, winter coats, school supplies, and any specific requests they have had. He has also made car payments, rent payments, and has given them prepaid debit cards for emergencies.

    Another person who knows first hand the joys brought to children in this type of  program, and the happiness felt when volunteering is Kristopher Johnson. He’s been helping with a similar program called Christmas Presence for five years now. His love for helping those in need started when he was very young.

    “I was raised in a household of drugs and not the greatest of parents before I was taken away by the state. I had a family down the street do this exact thing for me and I know how it makes a kid feel to actually have gifts under the Christmas tree. Just knowing someone cared about me and made sure that I was able to fully enjoy the holidays like everyone else. I have been very blessed in this life and I feel like as long as I can help others (especially children) I should do so,” Johnson said. 

    When he first began, it was out of nowhere and was only able to help one family, but ever since he’s been expanding. Johnson has made a considerable amount of progress this year, being able to raise close to $5,000, which is enough for him to provide for 20 families and about 50 children. To raise the funds for his program Johnson did a cornhole tournament, raffle drawing, and was given other donations. 

  Several people have reached out to him on Facebook wanting to provide more help to his program. He loves what he does and, like Lorance, he wants to spread kindness to others in any way that he can. 

 “It makes me feel amazing. I’ve never had a bad experience yet. I’m hoping that me doing this for these children will one day have one of them want to do the same thing I’m doing today,” Johnson said. 

    There are so many ways to spread kindness and help during the holidays. So, many people volunteer their time to make sure that others enjoy the holidays just as much as they do. 

“Just know that helping others is one of the most rewarding feelings you can have, and I highly encourage you to help in any way you can. Start by donating your time to help an organization that works to give families a Christmas,” Lorance said.