On Sunday afternoon, the eight families were invited to the activities building of St. Stephen Catholic Church, where Helping Hands served a chili supper and families were free to choose from an abundance of all types of decorative items. Eileen Kehrwald, who helped organize the donations, said it took her four trips in a pickup truck to get everything to the church.
Amy Wynn was one of the many fire victims who came to take advantage of the offer. Even though the fire destroyed ornaments that her four children had made in places like school and church, she said she grateful that she wouldn’t have to replace everything.
“I was really worried about what we were going to do,” she said.
Among the items Wynn took home with her were several snow globes, which she said she loves. She said she lost about eight snow globes in the fire.
The displays of donations resembled something one might expect to find at a small holiday store and covered 11 tables. One table was topped with wreaths and other door decorations. Another was covered with garlands to decorate trees, while another had several types f Christmas lights. A variety of Nativity scenes were arranged on another, and stuffed Christmas toys were scattered across another. Another table was completely covered in Christmas tree ornaments, and there was also a multitude of decorative figures and miscellaneous holiday-themed household items.
“The gang’s all here,” said Helping Hands cofounder K. G. Ariagno, indicating that there wasn’t a single family that failed to show up on Sunday.
After everyone was finished eating their chili, many of the children ran outside to play football. Meanwhile, their parents drew names to determine who would get to choose their Christmas tree first. Eleven artificial trees were donated, and nine different types were displayed in the building to choose from.
After families chose their trees Ariagno and Kehrwald told them to take any decoration they wanted. There were so many that they encouraged them to take anything other family members or friends might like to have. Even at the end of the evening, there were quite a few things left.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.