As we prepare for our unique American celebration of Thanksgiving, sometimes we need to remind ourselves to count our blessings rather than the number in people in line ahead of us in the grocery store. Not so this year, because for the National Christ Child Society there have been so many amazing, ground-breaking blessings this year, blessings we never could have dreamed of even a year ago.
Let’s start with the most recent blessing. As G.K. Chesterton said, gratitude is “happiness doubled by wonder.” Those words really describe the joy and awe we feel because of the generous gift of Follett Higher Education Group of 6,000 Good Night Moon board books to be distributed to 27 Christ Child chapters across the country before the end of December, for inclusion in these chapters’ layettes. Follett has for some time been incredibly generous to our South Bend chapter, since 2008 donating these books for inclusion in the chapter’s layettes and donating many other books as well. In fact, Follett has been so generous over the years that South Bend this September awarded the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore (a Follett Higher Education Group bookstore) its 2015 “Heart of a Child” Award.
In learning from Deb Low, who chairs grant-writing for the South Bend Chapter and serves on the NCCS board as development chair, that there are many other chapters around the country distributing layettes, Follett offered to extend its generosity more broadly. Now, two-thirds of all Christ Child chapters will soon be able to pick up from local Follett Higher Education Group bookstoresenough Good Night Moon books to meet their full year’s layettes needs. (Chapters benefitting from the Follett gift will be contacted directly by NCCS with the particulars). Truly wonderful for the mothers and babies who will bond together while reading this timeless classic. Wonderful for each of the 27 chapters receiving this gift this year, ensuring our ability to support early childhood reading which is so fundamental to a child’s ability to learn and progress in life. Wonderful for us as a national organization to share this gift and be able to exclaim our gratitude from coast to coast to Follett Higher Education bookstores near us! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Follett.
The Follett gift is pivotal in scope and size and because it is the first gift received to benefit such a large number of chapters at one time. But this year NCCS also received several other unique and important donations:
- The significant bequest to NCCS from the Estate of Patricia Bertrand. Patricia Bertrand died this past year after having been a member of the Cleveland and Palm Beach chapters and a founding member of the Boca Raton chapter. Having experienced Christ Child in three different communities, Patricia appreciated NCCS’ role to support existing and forming chapters. Her bequest has allowed NCCS to make a one-time investment in improved communications and public relations with the aim of helping chapters attract more members and funding, as well as a substantial donation to the Cause for Canonization as it prepares to move to the Roman phase. God bless and keep Patricia.
- The Green Foundation’s lead donation to the Cause for Canonization of Mary Virginia Merrick. Based in Los Angeles, California, the Green Foundation made this donation to encourage other foundations and individuals to help make it possible to send the Cause to Rome. Their gift has encouraged significant giving, as have the major pledges and gifts of a number of chapters, including $25,000 by the Washington, D.C. chapter and, most recently, $5,000 by the South Bend chapter. What seemed an impossible task now seems more achievable as a result of these major gifts and the gifts large and small of other chapters and individual Christ Child members from across the country. Blessings and gratitude to you all.
Thanks as well to every Christ Child member and supporter, for each person’s gifts of time in leadership, in fundraising or in volunteering with children, and each person’s financial support to their local chapter, NCCS and/or the Cause. I ask Mary Virginia Merrick to pray for each of you and yours, and send warmest wishes to each of you for a Happy Thanksgiving full of gratitude and wonder.