It is that time of year – the time where giving and sharing holiday cheer is among us. On December 12, 2020, that is what The Common Good Tulsa did with its 4th annual Christmas JOY event.
This year's event was a little different due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Normally, Christmas JOY includes a store where parents shop. Due to COVID, it was a drive thru event,” said Gretchen Guillette. Gretchen is the Director of Community and Partner Relations for The Common Good Tulsa.
"This is a collaborative effort to bring Christmas gifts to families in the 74127 area. The first Christmas JOY invited all families from Mark Twain to register. The 2nd Christmas JOY invited families from both Mark Twain and Wayman Tisdale Elementary to register,” said Gretchen. "The 3rd Christmas JOY invited Mark Twain, Wayman Tisdale, and Central Jr. high families to register. The event became a community event that grew out of the HOPE 27 group, which is a group of 74127 community leaders from churches, agencies, schools, etc. that meet monthly and have for years now to advocate and collaborate on ways to help families in the 74127 thrive."
The Common Good Tulsa is a non-profit that exists to help families in northwest Tulsa. Their primary goal is to provide resources, services, and opportunities for the children and youth in the area to overcome the social and economic challenges they face.
To be a part of this event, Wayman Tisdale families registered online. Then, they received a Christmas JOY email with information detailing their drive-thru gift pick-up time and safety instructions.
Each registered child received two pre-selected, age-appropriate gifts. To be eligible, students must attend Tisdale Fine Arts Academy or live in the 74127 community. The turnout was terrific: 98 families registered, representing nearly 300 children! All but five families drove through to pick up their gifts.
The Common Good coordinated the entire event, handling online registration, communication, coordinating gift collection, and providing volunteers. The gifts were provided by several community organizations.
During the drive-thru event, families were also provided with food by Northstar Bridges. Northstar passed out packages including produce, potatoes, onions, milk, and snack food. Families also received an Aldi gift card provided by John Knox Presbyterian Church.
Tulsa Public Schools and Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy would like to give a heartfelt thank you to The Common Good Tulsa and every other organization that had a hand in making this event possible.
"This event was exponentially helpful for our Tisdale Families! We have so many families who have experienced so much hardship along with the pandemic, which increases the need for this event," said Amy Van Vleet. Amy is the A+ Coordinator and does community outreach at Wayman Tisdale.
"The staff at Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy are overjoyed and so fortunate to have such amazing partners that go above and beyond to care for our families. The event means so much to our families because they have created joy, hope and have fulfilled needs that families may not have been able to fulfill on their own this year. ‘Christmas JOY’ was an absolutely incredible event. Tisdale thanks ALL that were involved in the process and for reaching out and helping our families!" said Amy.