Donated Christmas decorations dropped off at Rice Memorial High School for victims of flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.

Donations help Flood Victims find the Christmas Spirit

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Thursday January 12, 2012

Rice Memorial High School wishes to thank the hundreds of families that donated Christmas decorations to be passed along to families in the Waterbury, Mooretown and Duxbury area affected by Tropical Storm Irene.  It was our plan to get a note out to all those who donated, but never anticipated the overwhelming generosity that made this effort so successful.

“It seems cliché to use the expression, ‘we received more than we gave’ but the recent Christmas decoration distribution in the Waterbury area for families affected by the recent flood…was just that.

The weekend after Thanksgiving more than 100 cars, coming from 14 cities and towns and local church parishes, dropped off Christmas decorations at Rice Memorial High School. The thousands of donated decorations were then crammed into the girls’ locker room shower stalls where volunteers sorted and organized the Christmas treasures which then were trucked to Waterbury to pass on to affected families.

After two days of distribution, the end result was that more than 50 families affected by the flood left with bins and bags of anything and everything needed to decorate for the holidays. One couple came into the hall and left with just a wreath. Their home was far from being able to decorate for Christmas, but they felt that the wreath would help lift their spirits and dress up the front of their home. Another mom with two little boys thanked us with hugs and tears as they prepared to leave the hall after spending the better part of the morning looking through the decorations. She shared that it had been “a very tough week.” Her boys had asked her multiple times, “When are we going to decorate for Christmas like we always do?” She found it hard to tell them that they lost all their Christmas decorations. She did her best to put them off and repeatedly told the boys that they would decorate over the weekend after a special trip to St. Andrew Church Hall. She told me that it was difficult to keep telling the children that all was lost, day after day, now month after month. That week, leading up to their treasure hunt around the tables, seemed especially difficult and long. Families couldn’t wait to get home to start decorating with their new holiday lights, bulbs, ornaments and/or nativity set.

In the months since Tropical Storm Irene, other than news, it has been pretty easy to forget about the flooding and those affected. Once you step into these flood-torn areas, you learn that it is far from over and that these families are living difficult lives and not simply weekends of inconvenience.  Those of us who volunteered realized how thankful we need to be for what we have. Know that we at Rice Memorial will remember these families in our prayers well beyond the holiday season and ask that you continue to remember them as well.

Thank you to all who donated and volunteered. Your kindness is most appreciated.

SOURCE: Rice Memorial High School