We didn't know that we would be headed to Florence this past Monday to carry Christmas down to a group of first graders who were impacted by Hurricane Matthew, but I drove with Ben sleeping the back, there was no question that this is where we were supposed to be the Monday before Christmas.
The request came the week after Thanksgiving. Did we have any connections to Nichols, the area most impacted by Hurricane Matthew? We were happy to answer yes! We had connections, deep connections, to Nichols/Mullins/Marion. That's where Sam grew up. We knew the devastation that had hit this area because our family was impacted by the flood waters. Even as we tried to get them to evacuate to Columbia, we knew that they were doing important work to help people who didn't have transportation or generators.
To receive this request, this idea to offer Christmas to kids impacted by Hurricane Matthew, was something we just had to make happen. Gathering a community of three small churches: First Christian (DOC) Church, Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship, and New Hope Christian Fellowship, we were able to offer bags of toys and food to these children.
"Their smiles were so big!" We heard back.
"You guys went over and beyond," we heard.
But we knew it wasn't us who had done ignited those children's faces. It was these communities of faith who partnered together to make a huge impact on a community who people have forgotten since the storm has passed on. We were simply the transportation carrying Christmas, carrying hope, love, joy, and peace to a community in need.