All I Want for Christmas Is a Birthday Party...
Meeting Needs Thanks to Your Support!
HARTFORD – The Salvation Army is blessed knowing that
through the support of people like you, we can meet needs year-round. What
follows is the story of a birthday party, made possible by a miraculous series
of “angels” that started with one individual.
Charmaine Waul, who works at nearby Trinity College, recently visited The
Salvation Army’s Marshall House Shelter to deliver winter coats and
clothing that she and her colleagues had collected. What was intended to be a
brief tour and donation drop off turned into much more. Charmaine was so moved
during her visit that she came back the very next day with bags of toys for the
children in the shelter. Her generosity, however, did not stop there. As it
would turn out, she would not be the only one to help.
One of the families that especially tugged at Charmaine’s heart was a
single father and his nine-year-old daughter, Princess, who had recently come
to Marshall House when faced with homelessness. When asked what she wanted for
Christmas, Princess replied, “Let me go home and get my
list…” Staff was curious what “home” Princess was
referring to. Princess left the room and quickly returned with her list in
hand. As it turned out, she had now considered Marshall House to be her "home."
This nine-year old girl then shared her list, emphasizing the one thing she
wanted most-urgently was a "green scarf." She also asked if her gifts could be
given to her for her birthday on December 26th, rather than on Christmas.
As staff learned, the significance of this request was that although her
mother had always promised her a big birthday party, it never came to fruition
because her mother was never around when her special day arrived. This year,
Princess thought it would be different!
Lynn Naughton, Director of Operations for Marshall House, promised Princess
that she would have a birthday party. Learning about this special Christmas
wish, Charmaine let Lynn know she would provide balloons for the party and
anything else that was needed. Having accompanied her on the tour, Rachael
Bubbs, Donor Relations Assistant for The Salvation Army, was also moved and
said she would personally fulfill Princess’ birthday wishes.
When asked what he wanted for Christmas, Princess’ father responded
simply that he wanted a haircut for his daughter’s birthday party. While
heading to the barber, their car ran out of gas. Blessed by a generous
passerby, Lauren Dziekan, the car was refueled, at no charge, and the father
went on to get his haircut, no charge, by Rick Golding of Prostyle Barber Shop.
For her party, Princess also got her hair done at Domincana Salon, and not only
did the hairdresser donate her services, she also gave Princess a tiara. She
was really beginning to feel like a Princess now.
Rachael returned to Marshall House the next afternoon with gifts. Guessing
the green scarf was of significance to Princess, she gave her this gift early.
Princess perked up at the sight of it and gave Rachael a hug. She then promptly
took the scarf, turned, threw it around her father’s neck, and exclaimed
“Merry Christmas Daddy!”
Lynn completed the birthday wish by personally shopping for the largest of
the wishes for Princess’ big day. While in the checkout line, she struck
up a conversation with the shopper behind her. She told him a short version of
the story behind the gift. When the cashier gave the total, Lynn heard a voice
next to her respond, “I got this.” Shocked, Lynn asked for his
information to thank him, but he just replied, “It’s from
(The decorated dining room.)
Meanwhile, back at Marshall House, staff, donors, and other shelter families
were busy decorating with bright pink decorations and a poster of a princess.
Dr. Miguel Colan of Connecticut Chiropractic Center, when hearing of
Princess’ wish, got her a cake. A dress had also been donated for
Princess to wear on her special day. The generosity seemed to be multiplying
with every new act of kindness.
When it came time for the party, Princess was overcome with wonder and
surprise when she finally entered the room. Tears of joy streamed down her face
as she looked around at the beautiful decorations and warm smiles on everyone
there. She certainly had never experienced anything like this before in her
lifetime. Everyone at the shelter – staff and residents, attended –
it was a party! Marshall House provided milkshakes and plenty of treats.
Princess was so grateful that she personally passed out goodie bags for
(Princess and her father.)
After the birthday party was over, her father, still amazed, responded,
“I am simply overwhelmed. It was so beautiful. This was by far the best
birthday I have ever experienced. Thank you to all of the moms at the Marshall
House and Ms. Lynn.” These moms he referenced are some of the mothers of
other families at the Marshall House who help him care for Princess like she is
one of their own.
“I felt honored and privileged to be able to spend time with The
Salvation Army and its Marshall House and to make one little girl’s
Christmas dream come true,” said Charmaine.
The Salvation Army is extraordinarily thankful for those who help us make
miracles every day. Whether responding to a natural disaster or hosting a
birthday party for a little girl, we at The Salvation Army want you to know our
gratitude for the many ways you make our services possible for people who need
hope and encouragement during some very dark times in their lives. This story
is a testament to what can happen when good people come together to help
Together, we will make 2014 a year of hope and possibility for the
discouraged. We pray that you have a happy and healthy New Year!