Category Archives: Isaac

Isaac’s Christmas Delivery. Finally.

 
Isaac

Dear Friends,

(for I consider you all friends–all of you who took part in the Christmas miracle to help Isaac’s family)

There are some experiences in life so bitter-sweet, it is painful to recount them. And that is how I feel about the day I delivered Isaac’s Christmas gifts. To tell you about that day means to travel back toward a heartache that time has since dulled to a degree. But I will go back there for you, because you were a part of it all along, and you deserve to be a part of it still.

Isaac was not at school the day I delivered his Christmas gifts. He had not been at school all week, because he had been at home taking care of his sick mother. I wanted to see him personally; to tell him everything that had happened to make this miracle happen. But finally I accepted the fact that I wouldn’t see him myself, and instead, I wrote him a letter. My husband Fred helped me load up the mini-van–it was packed!–and we drove to Isaac’s school, where his school counselors were waiting for us.

It was a packed mini-van.

Van’s loaded; I’m ready to go play Santa Claus!
Isaac’s new bike in his school parking lot.

I was grinning like a kid on Christmas morning as we unloaded the van and sent loads of gifts, groceries, and of course the bike into the school. The counselors would deliver it to Isaac’s home that afternoon. They thanked me and asked me to express their appreciation to everyone who made this possible. Then they told me that this would mean a lot to Isaac’s family. They told me that his mother’s illness was quite serious and that it would, in fact, take her very soon. They told me that this would be their last Christmas together as a family.

Isaac reading his letter with his mom.

And even though I had only spent five minutes in Isaac’s presence, I felt the blow as if it was happening to someone very close to me. I stood there shivering in the cold parking lot, with Fred’s arm around my shoulders, and I cried for Isaac. I didn’t stop crying for him for a while. I cried all the way home from his school. And now, typing this, I find I still have tears for him. I don’t know what will happen to him when his mom dies. The counselors didn’t know. They vaguely said that his older sisters would take care of him. But he’s so young still, and it hurts to think of what he will go through–what grief, yes, but also what hardships he will face.

I wrote Isaac a letter. (I already told you that.) It was kind of long, and kind of personal. But I will tell you the gist of it–I told him that I believed we crossed paths for a purpose. I told him that no matter what happens in his life, he is never alone, because God loves him and watches over him. I told him that he could always pray for help and that God would send someone to help him, just as He sent me the day Isaac’s bike broke. I told him how so many people donated money and clothes and time to let him know that he was not alone, and that all of these people–even though none of you know him personally–care about him. And I encouraged him to be good, to work hard, to wear his bike helmet, and to be sweet to his mom. At the end of the letter, I included the names of everyone who made a donation. In addition to the help given to Isaac’s family, I donated the leftover cash ($600) to the Northwest Middle School family support program. I know it will go to good use.

Christmas in Isaac’s home
 
His counselors took pictures when they delivered the gifts to his apartment, and today they finally sent the pictures to me. They told me that he teared up when he read the letter. And they told me that his family was very surprised and very, very appreciative of the wonderful Christmas surprise we provided for them.

Isaac’s family
At the end of my letter to Isaac, I wished him and his family a very merry Christmas. But more than that, I told him, I wished him a bright and hopeful future. That is still, and always will be, my wish for Isaac.

A Few Updates

This is how I feel right now–all jubilant and victorious.

1. I have been sincerely overwhelmed by the response to my last post about helping Isaac. You have, with your comments and contributions and sharing, put me in awe of the generosity of strangers and the power of coming together to change the world. Since writing my last post, I have spoken extensively with Alisa Bridge at Northwest Middle School, who works in their Family Support Center. Alisa’s job is to assess the needs of the students’ families, visit their homes, and coordinate relief for them. She was able to give me a little more information about Isaac’s family. His mother has some serious health problems and was in the hospital the day I found him stranded. She is happily home now, but I don’t know for how long, and her condition makes it impossible for her to work or drive. Isaac has two older sisters who have small children that live with him and his mom. There is no father in the picture for any of the kids. He, his mother, and the other children all need basic items like underwear, socks, and groceries.

I am happy to report that in one week we have collected:
     1 awesome new red bike, 1 heavy duty bike lock, 1 container of tire sealant.
     Christmas presents for Isaac! (SnapCircuits SC-300, pull-up bar, Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster with 75 extra darts, Nerf football, Ranger’s Apprentice series, and various books, movies, and CDs donated by my awesome publisher, Deseret Book.)
     Christmas presents for Isaac’s little nieces and nephew (Pictures to come! Lots of cute toys! I had so much fun!)
     A complete set of clothes for Isaac (5 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of pants, 5 long-sleeve shirts, 1 button-down shirt, 1 set of pajamas (more to come), 6 pairs of underwear and socks, 1 coat.
     I have not finished shopping. Things I still need to collect or buy include: a bike helmet, gloves, hat, and shoes for Isaac, clothes for Isaac’s mom, shoes and clothes for the little kids, and gift cards to Smith’s and McDonald’s, groceries, and a few bus passes. If any of you would like to donate those items, please message me at donaldson.julianne@gmail.com.

This is all thanks to you!!!! I have made every effort to be frugal and spend this money wisely, for I consider it sacred. My aim is to collect as many items as I can so that I can donate a big chunk of the money to the Northwest Middle School Family Support Center. Sadly, Isaac’s situation is not unique. They have a lot of kids who show up daily without socks or a coat or any food at home. For those of you who would like to be more personally involved, they do have an extensive Sub for Santa program at the school. If you would like to choose your own “Isaac” and do your own shopping for him, please call Alisa Bridge at 801-578-8409.

All of the shopping is taking longer than I expected, so I will be delivering the items/money to Isaac’s school next week. Afterwards, I will have photos to share with all of you. But I wish I could share more than photos. I wish I could hug you all and let you know how much I appreciate your joining me in this effort. I know that you will all be blessed.

2. In other news, Edenbrooke did very well in the Goodreads Choice award, coming in at #7 in the Romance category. I couldn’t have done this without your help, so again I am indebted to you, my wonderful fans! Thank you!!

3. If you would like to purchase a personalized, signed copy of Edenbrooke,  you can now do so by ordering it from my local bookstore, The King’s English. I will hustle over there and sign your copy with whatever inscription you want and they will ship it to whatever address you specify and it would make a terrific Christmas present. Go here to order: http://www.kingsenglish.com/julianne-donaldson

EDIT: Thank you so much for reading this! If you would like to help Isaac’s family or any other child at his school, please contact Alisa Bridge at Northwest Middle School at 801-578-8409. I am no longer accepting monetary donations. Thank you!!

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