There is magic in a letter to Santa. It’s a child wish, if they could have anything in the world.
But eight-year-old Isabel Diaz’s Christmas wish this year wasn’t for herself.
“It was one line only,” her mom Jessica said, holding Isabel’s letter to Santa Claus. “It said, I just want the homeless to have food and warmth this year.”
On a car ride home from Hartford last year, Isabel learned not everyone has a place to call home for the holidays.
“I saw someone and they were homeless,” she said.
How did that make her feel? “Sad.”
Sad, but also inspired to help. So with enthusiastic support from Mom, Isabel’s Christmas Drive was born, and the Coventry family set out collecting food, clothing and supplies for the homeless and hungry. It started with a few flyers stuffed in neighborhood mailboxes, but quickly grew.
“We posted it on Facebook on our own personal pages, passed out some flyers and the next thing you know, our home office was filled with people being absolutely inundated with drop offs, it was amazing,” said Jessica.
Isabel thought she might collect “a couple of grocery bags,” but what came through instead was enough to fill Santa’s sleigh.
On Friday, Isabel and family packed a trailer full of donations and headed to Saint Vincent De Paul of Middletown, where volunteers gladly accepted and weighed the supplies – all 1,199 pounds worth.
Saint Vincent’s Peter Keast says with 800 families coming every month for services, it’s a much-needed boost, and an important reminder after such a difficult year for so many.
“Every day we have a choice on what we're going to look at,” said Keast, who was moved to tears. “We can look at the political scene. We can look at hardship, or we can look at the small miracles like an eight-year-old that manages to feed so many people. It's a choice what we look at every day.”
“Eight-year-olds have a lot of the answer to this world problems, I'll tell you that.”