Black Mountain – As Christmas nears and many have almost finished their shopping for family and friends, perhaps it is time to consider opening your heart and wallet to those who may be struggling with the season. I am speaking of children who are separated from their biological families and are in group homes. For this article, the focus will be on the Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth, and Families and the Eliada Home in Asheville. Because Christmas is such a difficult time for children who have been separated from their loved ones, those caring for these children try to go above and beyond to make them feel special and loved. There are a number of ways that you can help make Christmas special for these children.
Black Mountain Home provides care to approximately 100 children of all ages, from newborns to college-age and even beyond for those with developmental disabilities. Throughout December, they have special meals and other Christmas events for the children. Loretta Shelton, director of Development & Community Relations, said, “Our children live in homes with their house parents (up to 9 children per cottage), so they open gifts from Santa on Christmas morning in a traditional manner. The younger children, many of whom are sibling groups, live in homes, but the teens live in cottages with others their age and gender — we have teen girl and teen boy cottages.”Many of the children have been sponsored by someone (for a donation of $200 per child). However, at this point, Shelton says the most pressing needs are:
1. Financial donations to the Christmas fund so that there’s money to buy last-minute gifts for children who are placed with us between now and Christmas2. The kids love to play outside in the winter, so we are asking for snow boots and snow bibs for them. Most wear adult sizes small to extra large, in men’s and women’s. 3. BMH is raising money to replace all of the children’s beds, mattresses, and box springs this spring and would LOVE to have donations to help with this big expenditure.
In addition, items can be purchased from Black Mountain Home’s Amazon wish list that will then be shipped directly to their office. Go to: https://www.amazon.com/registries/holiday/S29WVU682YXU.
This list is organized by age and will indicate if an item has already been purchased. If you wish to purchase items on our list from other stores, you can have them shipped to Black Mountain Home Christmas, 80 Lake Eden Rd., Black Mountain, NC 28711.
Eliada Home in Asheville provides a cradle-to-career continuum of services for over 600 children and youth annually. In partnership with families, they meet basic needs and provide positive child and youth development programming for all ages. Eliada works hard to make the holidays a special time for the children in their care.
Families at their child development center face financial hardship. The older youth transitioning to adulthood often have children of their own and are struggling to find work and safe housing during this time. In addition, they have high-level intervention and prevention services for children and adolescents that focus on social and emotional well-being, life skills development, career readiness, and trauma-informed treatment. With community support, Eliada can help parents and guardians provide a bright and joy-filled Christmas for their kids. For most of Eliada’s children and youth, the gifts they receive from sponsors are the only gifts they will get during the holiday season. At this point in time, the biggest need is a cash donation for last-minute gifts for children that still need to be sponsored.
There are a number of wish lists that include items that children will need throughout the coming year. The value of a wish list is around $150. One can divide that cost with friends or even sponsor several children. Cottage wish lists are for youth living at Eliada. They include toiletries, bedding, towels, books, games, art supplies, suitcases, and kitchen utensils. Many children will arrive at Eliada in 2022 with only a few clothes in a garbage bag. With someone’s donation, Eliada can ensure that they immediately feel at home. Other wish lists are for the Child Development, Day Treatment, Campus Farm, and Equine Therapy programs, with needed classroom and playground supplies. Some youth living at Eliada won’t arrive until very close to Christmas or right after. Of course, a donation to fulfill this child’s wishes is of utmost importance. To sponsor a child, contact Rebecca Boline by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (828) 254-5356. Donations can be made directly on the Eliada.org website. Donors note their preference or mark it for “Holiday Wishes,” and then Eliada will do the shopping and distribution.
December is a time for sharing Christmas love. The children at Black Mountain Home for Children and Eliada Home would be made to feel special and loved by any donation that is given.