Dozens of Door County children from families in need will wake up to a brighter Christmas this year thanks to the generosity of the community’s dozens of Secret Santas.
This year the Feed My People Christmas program worked with 48 sponsor individuals and groups to provide gifts to 115 families with as many as eight children.
Carrie Baldwin Smith and Karen Nordahl organized a group of Northern Door families who adopted seven families in need through the program.
“I wanted to do it because I feel like my kids are getting to the age when they have to realize the importance of Christmas,” Smith said. “They need to know it’s more about giving than receiving.”
Smith and Nordahl emailed friends to join the effort and got such a great response that they were able to get gifts for 10 additional children. They contacted Feed My People for a list of families and their Christmas wish lists, then set a spending limit of no more than $60 per child, to make sure one family member didn’t get more than another.
Smith urged families to shop for the gifts with their kids to give them the experience of searching for something for someone else.
“The kids, they’re aware that someone is getting something even they may have wanted, and now you’re an influence on someone less fortunate than us,” she said. “You’re going to make someone else’s heart smile on Christmas.”
Thyme Cuisine hosted Smith’s group of secret Santas for a gift-wrapping party Dec. 9. When they were finished they had wrapped gifts for 32 Door County children.
Ashley Madson, a receiving coordinator at Feed My People, said the gifts were delivered to families a week before Christmas.
“It’s fun, you smile a lot and you’re happy to help all these people,” Madson said. “Most of them are really grateful.”
To receive gifts families must fill out an application at Feed My People. Madson said some are reluctant to do so.
“Some people are embarrassed to ask for help,” she said. “We try to remind them that everyone needs help sometimes, and there are people happy to do something for them. There are quite a few people in this community in need.”