SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– This isn’t Sarah Jones’ first time driving a UHAUL. In fact, the last time was only about six months ago, when she relocated to Missouri from North Carolina.
“I moved out here with hopes of a job,” Jones told Ozarks First on Tuesday. “The job fell through.”
“We wouldn’t have had Christmas without this.”-Sarah Jones
That trip ended in disappointment This time, it’s a “joy” ride.
“We wouldn’t have had Christmas without this,”
You see, without that job she moved out here for, Sarah needed help.
“I didn’t have beds. We were sleeping on air mattresses.”
Times were tough not just for her, but also for her 10-year-old, her 4-year-old, and soon-to-be-baby-three.
“This one I’m having tomorrow morning,” she said through a smile.
Enter, Help Give Hope, a group of business leaders from the Springfield area who, every year, pitch in and support families like the Joneses.
Murray Beairsto, Executive Director at Help Give Hope says her team is helping 191 families this year. That’s roughly 700 kids in the Ozarks getting Christmas they would’ve otherwise missed.
Help Give Hope is donating hundreds of bikes, beds, food, pre-wrapped Christmas presents, and more to these children and parents in need. The giving takes place over a two day period (this year it’s 12/17-18/2019).
Those receiving gifts and support from the organization drive up through a garage at the charity’s location on Cedarbrook in North Springfield.
Many, including Jones, are lent UHAUL trucks to carry their load home. The cost of the truck is covered by volunteers at Help Give Hope.
Families are not picked at random but are instead evaluated before getting supplies and presents.
“They might not have ever had a new toy or a new bicycle,” Bearisto said. “We make the parents look like the hero to that child. That parent might be struggling and they’re finally getting the feeling in their heart that they’re giving their kid a Christmas.”
It’s all thanks to Help Give Hope volunteers like John and Rod, who’ve watched Help Give Hope grow from a small group of friends with sizable hearts to… Well… Just a bigger group of kind-hearted friends really.
“We started in the basement of Wade’s house,” Rod remembered. “And then we got a warehouse. Now we have this place.”
“Over the years it’s just morphed into a bunch of guys and gals that have volunteered and donated,” said John.
The group’s growth is surprising, but not unexplainable.
For those like Sarah- given the gift of worth by perfect strangers- coming back someday to volunteer and pass it on just seems like the obvious move.
“They made you feel important. Not that you were so needy or that it was a bother to help you,” Jones added.