By Sarah Shurge – Christmas is the time for giving. But what happens when bills are tight and you can’t afford a Christmas gift for your child? What happens when you need some help?
Krista Poole and her three children have taken it upon themselves to spread Christmas cheer in the most special way.
Poole’s youngest son, Derrick Howard, Taft-Galloway Elementary second grade student, decided to adopt his entire school for the holidays. He wanted to ensure that all of his friends, classmates, and peers received a gift for the holidays.
“Our original goal was to adopt four families,” said Poole. “I work for a community organization and started telling people what me and my kids were going to do.”
Poole met someone that was going to pick up toys in a collaboration with the Take One Community Program in Pontiac and they invited Poole to pick up toys every weekend.
“Every weekend my van would be just packed with stuff,” said Poole.
Poole’s workplace, Forgotten Harvest, began to contribute to the cause and then more and more people began donating toys.
“It got to the point where my son looked at all the toys and said ‘that’s enough to give one to everyone at my school’,” said Poole.
So that’s exactly what they did.
“There are about 420 kids at Taft and we had probably about 700 gifts,” said Poole. “We had everything: games, dolls, trucks, legos. When everything was actually laid out, it was amazing to see.”
Poole and her three children: Howard, daughter, Kamaria Tramble, and oldest son, Demari Tramble were all involved with the project, and passed out the toys on Thursday, December 22nd.
“It was such a surreal feeling. My daughter almost cried a couple times,” said Poole. “She is 18 and had the idea to adopt some senior citizens’ homes too.”
The family had all the toys sorted out and displayed on tables for the kids.
“The day before we took everything to the school, I had a moment where I sat on the couch and looked at everything and I was so proud of everything we did,” said Poole.
This project was very personal to Poole and her family.
“There were times that Christmas almost didn’t happen for us. We’ve struggled. But I am at the point in my life now that I can help out. I want to give back,” said Poole. “I’ve been on the other side. It’s hard when you don’t have help and you don’t know where to go.”
Giving back and helping people is a large part of Poole’s life.
“At my job, I make sure that churches and soup kitchens receive food. We fed over a million people last year,” said Poole. “Majority of my life is giving back.”
Poole had posted on Facebook that her son adopted his school and she stated that people started reaching out that they needed toys too. She even provided toys for a family in Alabama.
“My favorite part was seeing the kids’ reactions when they walked into the room. To take that burden off the parents. If you don’t have it, if you can’t provide, that’s a burden and it’s not a good feeling,” said Poole. “It’s ok to ask for help. It takes a village. Our job is to help each other and not turn our backs on people in need.”
Wayne-Westland Community Schools shared the story about Howard adopting his school for the holidays on their Facebook page and the post received over 650 reactions and over 100 shares. One share was from the Wayne, Michigan Administration Community Updates page.
“It felt good. My favorite part was that everybody in my school got a toy to take home,” said Howard. “Everybody gets a toy and family joy.”
Now that the toys have been handed out and the remaining amount of toys were left at the school, Poole and her family finally have the time and room to celebrate the holidays.
“Everything was centered around this. We sacrificed for this. We didn’t even have the tree up until December 23rd because we didn’t have room in our living room with all the toys everywhere,” said Poole.
Poole and her family plan on making this toy drive an annual thing. “I had someone mention they wanted to sign a warehouse for next year and pay for it, so we can store toys there,” said Poole.
If you want to support the cause, donate toys, or get involved in any way, you can contact Poole by email at Ladykrisdesigns@gmail.com.