Imagine being in a position where you are struggling to make ends meet and provide for children that depend on you to survive and you’ll quickly realize that instead of a time of joy, the holidays present a feeling of dread and concern. Unfortunately, some families simply don’t have the means to provide gifts for their loved ones. This is happening to families in New Paltz. In response to their needs, residents at Woodland Pond bought items on each family’s wish list and were eager to make sure seven children and two mothers have a wonderful Christmas.
“Woodland Pond adopts two families in need every year, and this year we are playing Santa Claus for families facing financial challenges,” said Warren Duffy, a resident of Woodland Pond. “We have a Giving Tree that is situated in the dining room with ornaments that have items on each family member’s wish list. My wife and I decided to buy a gift for a 12-year-old girl since our grandchildren are around that age and are also girls. She only wanted one thing for Christmas, so fulfilling her wish was simple. We think she will be very excited and thankful on Christmas morning when she opens up what we picked out for her. Christmas is all about making a difference by sharing and providing for others in need.”
Woodland Pond adopts two families through Family of New Paltz’s Adopt-a-Family for the Holidays Program each year. The community collected unwrapped gifts until December 11. A staff member from the community delivered the gifts to Family of New Paltz who will wrap the gifts and give them to the children at a special Christmas party.
“I think their eyes will light up and they will have bright smiles on their faces when they see all the packages,” said Duffy. “No child should feel left out on Christmas and it warms my heart to know that I played a part in making sure that does not happen. Beyond the gifts, I think we bestow hope in these children. I believe that we show them that there are kind people in the world who care about them and hopefully we are setting an example of the importance of sharing and giving to others.”
Woodland Pond residents believe that everyone should take time to see how they can help others. They feel the true meaning of Christmas can be found in giving back and helping those who need it, whether it is by donating time, money or material goods. Every wish on the Giving Tree gets fulfilled each year.
“The spirit that fills Woodland Pond during the holidays is contagious,” said Michelle Gramoglia, executive director of Woodland Pond. “The residents are always eager and excited to do something for others who need a little extra help. It was heart-warming to see them actively shopping for children and to see their delight in providing for a family beyond their own.”