Jakelle’s Christmas Box

JaKelle’s Christmas Box brightens the holidays for foster children and those being brought up in kinship families. Gifts are distributed to foster families, group homes and registered kinship families.

JaKelle loved Christmas. The lights, sounds and smells of Christmas always made her happy. She loved to go on car rides to look at Christmas lights around the neighborhoods. She also loved to give and receive gifts – and we as parents and brothers loved to give her gifts, and lots of them! On Christmas morning, the tradition in our family is to have someone play “Santa” and pass out the gifts under the tree to everyone. Everyone would receive a gift from under the tree and then in order we would open the gifts.

This process would be repeated until all of the gifts were opened. An interesting thing always happened though: When her three older brother were done opening all of their presents, JaKelle would still often have dozens of presents to open —and these didn’t include all of the ones Mom didn’t put under the Christmas tree but gave her later! Over the last number of weeks as we have thought about this first Christmas without JaKelle, we quickly realized that we wanted to continue to “shower” JaKelle with lots of gifts. We came up with the idea of JaKelle’s Christmas Box. We decided that we will continue to buy lots and lots of gifts for JaKelle and put them in this special Christmas Box. We hope to fill many big boxes by inviting all of our extended family members, friends and everyone in the community to join us.

We will then contribute these gifts to an organization that serves the needs of children at Christmas in her name. We determined that Helen’s Hope Chest would be the perfect organization.

—Lynn and Jana Westergard