Giving Christmas Back

Giving Christmas Back

By: Brandy Campbell with Adones Martinez in the Dominican Republic   |   Posted: September 17, 2009

Christmas Gift Program Restores a Family's Celebration
Enoli plays with the kitchen set she received from her sponsor through the Christmas Gift Program.

Yomary used to love celebrating Christmas with her family. She worked full time at an oil refinery in El Bagazo de Haina, Dominican Republic. Even when her husband lost his job, as he often did, she could still provide a Christmas dinner for her four children. Most years, there were even gifts at Christmas a small toy, some candy.

Losing Christmas

But by the time Yomary's daughter Enoli was born, life had changed dramatically. Yomary had lost her job at the refinery, and her husband had been unemployed for five years. There often was no money for even food or clothes. And Christmas became yet another day when Yomary couldn't provide for her family.

"It is so hard, watching my children have no presents on Christmas day," says Yomary. "In our neighborhood, the children who don't get toys all go to the homes of the children who have dolls and games, and they just watch them play. It makes me very sad."

A Christmas Celebration

Last Christmas was different, though. This was 6-year-old Enoli's first Christmas as a Compassion-assisted child. The holiday season began with a party at the Eben-Ezer Child Development Center. Enoli paraded in with her friends, each one wearing new clothes and shoes that had been purchased from a donation their sponsors had made to Compassion's Christmas Gift Program.

The children loudly sang Christmas carols and then sat quietly as a center worker told them the story of Jesus' birth. The party ended with a dinner of rice and beans, bread, chicken and fruit.

The celebration continued when Enoli arrived home. Her sponsor had also made a donation for a family gift, and Yomary and Enoli then traveled through the busy streets to the market.

Yomary let Enoli pick out her favorite cereal, and the little girl trotted back with a box of cornflakes. Yomary bought fresh fruits and vegetables and some meat for dinner. While Enoli wasn't looking, Yomary put a toy kitchen set and a new shirt in her basket. Later, she would wrap those gifts and put them under the Christmas tree.

One Small Gift

Just one small gift from Enoli's sponsor provided the little girl with a completely different Christmas experience. Yomary can't stop expressing her thanks for the stranger who gave her family Christmas back.

"Her sponsor is a person I have not met, but I thank her with all of my soul," says Yomary. "I have read the letters she sends to Enoli, the letters she sends to our home. We read the letters and she tells Enoli many things, and she brings us all so much happiness and joy."

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