I was excited about spending my 5 dollars and prayed and contemplated what to do. My first idea was to buy some of those self-heating hot chocolates from Wal-mart and then hand them out to construction workers along with a "Be My Guest" invite card for the church. Unfortunately, Wal-mart was all out of those hot-chocolates. (If I get some time, I'll post about how they started my coffee addiction.)
So for my second idea I got to thinking about the people that have to work Christmas day. (Wouldn't that be a bummer!) So I decided to try and get together a goodie basket for our local Police Department for those guys and gals who would be working on Christmas day. My son hadn't figured out what to do with his $5 yet, so he decided to join in. We had a lot of fun just going around to local businesses and trying to see who else wanted to be part of this project.
Our first success story was the local CVS. They girl at the counter asked what we needed and what we were doing this for and then she donated 2 2-liters of soda. That may not sound like much to some, but we were so excited that someone was willing to help, it was a lot to us.
Our next success was Produce Plus. They gave us some home-made goods. We were thrilled. We then ventured to some of the bigger stores in town, but they had a lot of paperwork to fill out. We filled out most of it, but never heard back from them. I'm guessing they had probably already given away their budget for the year.
We then went to dollar tree and this wonderful manager told us she would get together some baskets for our project. We were thrilled! Finally we hit up a couple of Friends - Mr. Purcell & Mr. Smith to add to our project and my wife added a little more.
So today we headed back to the Dollar Tree, not sure what to expect, and they joined together with the Shoe Department to purchase a HUGE meat tray and bread. My son and I had decided that we would spend most of our cash at the store that donated the most towards our gift. So Dollar Tree won! It was fun to watch my boy as he loaded up the cart with $1 items. We had a ball. We came back to church and put together our letter and our Christmas Card to share who all had participated in our project.
All together, I'd say we turned our $10 into about $100 worth of goods for our Christmas Surprise. We had called ahead to the Police Department and found out there were 8 officers working Christmas day. So we feel like we had a pretty good supply of snacks for their Christmas.
I talked it over with my wife, and I think we may have started a new Christmas Tradition. We hope next year to find someone else who has to work on Christmas Day and find some way to be a blessing to them.
And a big thanks to the churches who helped with the Bless Back idea.