Christmas came late for a Belle Plaine family this year, but that did not make it any less special or appreciated.
The Belle Plaine Police and Fire Departments rolled down the street just after 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8, with lights flashing, followed closely by a caravan of volunteers who were bearing gifts for a family in need.
Organized by Arlington’s Rachel Lueth, with help and assistance by dozens of volunteers including close Henderson connections, the family was blessed with gifts that included assistance toward a home remodel, including new furniture, a brand new toilet, and sheet rock, along with gifts for their children and pets.
The family also has the opportunity to go through two programs offered by Best Christmas Ever, and upon their completion, will receive $1,000 to go toward paying a bill and another $1,000 toward groceries at Coborn’s.
Although the family declined to be identified for safety reasons, the mother has been undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer, which included a recent transplant.
Due to her condition, the children cannot attend school in person and have even been separated from their mom for an extended period of time while she has been in the hospital.
When Lueth was going through the hundreds of Best Christmas Ever nominations, the various unknowns and extra challenges the family faced are what really clicked.
Going through all of the changes with the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, but the fact that a mom and her children were separated for months, and not even sure if they would be together for Christmas, struck a chord.
“It has really touched me to see your family every day wake up and do what you do and be rock stars at it,” Lueth said.
While Lueth was hoping the Best Christmas Ever delivery could have been made prior to the Christmas holiday, the mother’s sensitive condition resulted in the drop being postponed twice.
That was not the only challenge Lueth’s Best Christmas Ever team faced.
Team fundraising took a big hit as the second round of COVID-19 lockdowns meant their big fundraiser scheduled for the Henderson RoadHaus was moved online just two days prior to the event, which impacted vendor sales, silent auction bids, and donations.
There could be no community meals or in-person events. With just a couple of weeks to the deadline, their team had just less than half the money they needed to pull off the Best Christmas Ever.
Then, a real Christmas miracle happened — Lueth’s team received a large donation from a single donor.
That donor funded another Best Christmas Ever team, and moved by Lueth’s team’s efforts and the family’s situation, decided to fill the gap.
Lueth extended her gratitude and thanks to everyone who came together and donated to make this year’s gift a reality.