SaddleBrooke Preserve neighbors brighten the holidays through their Adopt-A-Child event

Ann Lange

The Preserve makes holidays happy for military families through their Adopt-A-Child event.

“Part of what makes the holidays so special for many of us is the ability to help those less fortunate than ourselves” (Bonnie Barazani, Social Chairman and coordinator of The Preserve’s events dedicating assistance to local military families). One hundred and nineteen big smiles from 46 military families will spread across young faces this holiday season as they open gifts from their very own wish list and put on cool new clothes in their own size. Food certificates from Fry’s will warm hearts and fill the family table with a special holiday meal.

The Preserve’s dedication to support local military families began over seven years ago. Dinners with silent and live auctions raised over $130,000 to provide food, gas, diapers and other necessities throughout the year. The annual holiday Adopt-A-Child event grows stronger every year. This December, gratitude for our incredible lives and an overwhelming desire to share and spread joy to others, sent us back twice requesting additional families in order to accommodate all those who were eager to participate. Commanders from the various service branches identify and recommend the families needing the most assistance. The names are given to their coordinator, who provides individualized wish lists and later collects and distributes the gifts to the corresponding families. Shoppers adopt one or more children, shop from each child’s list and spend approximately $75 per child. There is never a shortage of volunteers to shop for those who are not able to shop for themselves, but wish to contribute monetarily.

Most of the over two million military children in our nation are of early and middle childhood age and come from low-income families. They face extra challenges and stress from frequent moves and school changes, separation from parents during crucial growing years, disruption and then reintegration of the family unit and even disability or death of parents. It takes a very small thing to fill a heart and The Preserve wants to take better care of our brave little soldiers. Giving customized gifts to each child shows that we care, listen and pay attention. But more important than the gifts of toys and clothes are the gifts of the heart that can change lives. We want to make military children feel special, valued and important. Love and hope grow the wings that let little souls rise up and soar to become all that they can be.

We are the home of the free, because of the brave, and those who sacrifice to provide a great future for all children do so while their own children are in need. It is a tragic irony that in this great country those who give the most can end up with the least. We are grateful for an opportunity to give back in our own small way and to express our respect and thanks to these ordinary, yet extraordinary men and women – the soldiers and saviors of our freedom. It is only because of them that we live and sleep peacefully in our own little safe haven here at SaddleBrooke.

To all military families from The Preserve neighbors who adopted children for the holiday – we love you! We respect you! We salute you! We thank you!