Imagine going to school and listening to your friends talk about their holiday plans.

You hear them describe the toys that fill their wish lists, the cookies they’ll bake, and the trees they’ll decorate. But, your mom hasn’t said a word about the holidays this year. There are no decorations, no home of your own for Santa to visit, and no questions about which gifts you want. It’s like the holidays aren’t even coming.

That’s what happened to Ellie last year.

The last time her dad screamed at her mom, threw dishes, and then
stormed out of the house, Ellie and her mom snuck out the back door,
hoping he would not come back before they escaped safely. They spent 45 days at CASA’s Emergency Shelter. During that time, Ellie’s mom was able to secure a full-time job, but Ellie’s dad wasn’t paying child support and Ellie’s mom was trying to figure out how they could even afford rent let alone Christmas.

As the holidays got closer, Ellie’s friends started sharing what they
wanted for Christmas during lunch and recess at school. They told Ellie
about how they picked out their Christmas tree, how they decorated it,
and how they made new ornaments to hang.

The more Ellie heard her friends talking, the more often she came home from school and told her mom what she wanted for Christmas. Her mom listened, smiling weakly.

One night during Ellie’s mom’s support group at CASA, she talked about how she felt like she was failing Ellie. She was devastated. What if they couldn’t celebrate Christmas this year?

That’s when she learned about CASA’s Hope for the Holidays Program. Each year, CASA provides holiday gifts, meals, and festivities to hundreds of families like Ellie’s as they try to get back on their feet after living through years of abuse. When Ellie woke up on Christmas morning, there were gifts stacked up in the living room.

Her mom hadn’t forgotten about Christmas, and Santa hadn’t forgotten to come to her house, either. Because now Ellie and her mom did have a home – a few days before Christmas they were able to move into their own apartment with the help of CASA’s Rapid Rehousing Financial Assistance Program.

Ellie’s mom choked back tears as she thought about how they almost missed Christmas, but thanks to CASA’s programs, she was able to make Ellie’s Christmas dreams come true. Did you know that YOU can play a role in helping families like this one celebrate and find a safe place to go after escaping abuse?

It’s through the financial support from people like you that survivors are able to seek lifesaving shelter with CASA and have access to resources that help them find jobs, secure housing, access emergency financial assistance for things like food and gas, and seek free legal representation.

It’s because of donations that Ellie’s mom was able to continue to receive the emotional support she needed through CASA’s support groups. And, it’s because of donations that Ellie got to experience the Christmas morning she so deserved.

We need people like YOU to open your heart and make sure the kids in our community have access to peace and safety this holiday season.

“You have truly changed mine and Ellie's life. Not only did we celebrate Christmas properly, but we are safe and healthy, and I have a job. Thank you.”