Westlake families get surprise 'storybook' Christmas delivered
Lakewood Country Club is kicking off its 2016 Giving Tree Adopt-a-Family Program, an annual charity program the Club sponsors during the holiday season to promote wellness and cheer in the community.
The LCC Leadership Team works with city officials and community advocates to find local, disadvantaged families who need an “extra boost” in December, in order to make the families’ Christmas celebrations bright and memorable ones. These families are often fighting chronic medical problems, dealing with loss of employment or loss of a family member, or they have suffered some sort of home displacement.
Last year the program was so successful that the Club was able to take the excess money that members donated and put it towards helping additional families in need! Some of the individuals the Club helped wrote back with heartfelt stories, including one member from a Westlake family:
“My daughter and I, her children and caregivers share a home … she has been seriously ill for well over a year now, which has made working impossible. It has been hard to find very many good times. However, due to the kindness of strangers, we found one of those rare ‘good times’ in December. Our family had the most amazing Christmas ever! The clothing and gifts were unbelievable – certainly nothing we could have ever afforded. The pictures and memories created were priceless. Best of all, my daughter was still with us. Words can never say ‘thank you’ enough times. God bless everyone!”
LCC’s general manager, Chris Hampton, looks forward to doing the same thing for families in the Westlake community again this year. Hampton was hired at the Club last year and brought the idea with him after facilitating a similar program at Oakmont Country Club outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (He also started the program at Oakmont in 2003 as a way to give back to the community surrounding the Club.)
“The response from the Lakewood membership and staff has been outstanding!” Hampton said, “It has exceeded anything I was ever able to accomplish in Pennsylvania and we hope we can inspire other Westlake businesses to give back to the community during the holiday season, because it’s such an important time of year.”
To jumpstart the program this month, the Club will focus on giving to three families who are currently enduring extreme difficulties. The Club obtained information on the families from Westlake’s Community Services Department.
The Giving Tree is an actual Christmas tree set up in LCC’s lobby. Club members pick an ornament off the tree with a profile description of a specific child, teenager or family member from one of the sponsored families. The club members then buy gifts or make monetary donations for the individuals and deliver them to the Club by Dec. 18. LCC collects the gifts and donations and gives them to the city officials and community advocates to distribute, so the families in need can have them by Christmas morning and wake up to a day filled with hope, wonder, joy and celebration!
I am the current membership director at Lakewood Country Club.