New Day Herald

Global Christmas Holiday Service Project

Article imageCities around the world again participated in Heartfelt service throughout the week of December 18-25, 1999. Here are some of the reports just in:


In this city of Santa’s village namesake, Moreah Fritz led joyful Heartfelt volunteers in gathering Christmas gifts to brighten the holiday for women living at a place called, “Women in Crisis Counseling.”


The Chicago MSIA community led by Annette Gardner participated in “The Joy of Sox”. They designed and then placed sock collection boxes in the lobbies of large businesses. On December 18, the team gathered to sort and wrap 356 pairs of socks and delivered them to The Night Ministry– an organization that drives around the streets of Chicago during the night and finds and helps 10,000 homeless children.


Bjorn Jensen reports that he, Brigitte, and his family joyfully planted columns of Light and love throughout the city of Copenhagen.


Teri Wunderman and Kristin Hebert co-chaired a project with the Miami ministers they all call “a huge success”! Their group collected and donated 13 boxes filled with food for the holidays for 13 families. Then they held a fantastic Christmas party at a shelter for abused children with Santa and Mrs. Claus, presents for the children, presents for the staff, games, crafts, pizza, juice, and a sundae bar. This service group also collected 22 boxes of new and used clothing, toys, books and videos, plus a washer/dryer for the shelter. It was so abundant the shelter ran out of storage space!


Olawale Olanrewaju and his family held a special party for “the beggars, the homeless, the blind, the amputees, the trash-bin scavengers, and hungry people anywhere”. They were served hot food and cold drinks and entertained by an all-blind live band. The celebration, a first of its kind, was a tremendous service to Festac Town, Lagos and the entire country.


Marilyn Wardell participated in a project called “Love in a Box” where they filled and wrapped shoe boxes for children in distress so that they would have special hand-picked Christmas gifts brimming with loving and Light. The boxes were going to be distributed to children in Kosovo, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria and Belarus – most of whom own nothing! Marilyn shared that it felt like creating the boxes for those children actually healed those who took part in all that loving.


Sherry Buelow, Judy Jackson and group adopted four families where one of the family members is terminally ill. So much abundance poured in from the community for these families that the group was able to give them a great party with food, “goodie bags”, entertainment, and a good sum of money for each family.


Jeanne Litt organized several projects of service for the NorCal Heartfelt group to play Santa. First they gave a Christmas tree, decorations, and tons of presents to an in-need family with 6 children. Then they lifted the spirits of a 79 year old shut in with Christmas dinner, presents and flowers. They obtained a $150 gift certificate from Toys R Us so that an at-risk, single mom could go Christmas shopping for her 3 children. And lastly, they gave toys and gifts to another fragile family with 7 children.


James Nakoko Wajambuku held a service project which included visiting orphaned children and taking them food and gifts, and spending time with them. It was a deeply moving day for all.


Anne Naylor and the “MSIA South of France” group journeyed throughout their area planting Light columns and spreading joy wherever they went. They visited a Maison de Retraite (nursing home) where one of their friends lived and sang Christmas carols to all the residents. Then they went around the home visiting, shaking hands and sharing hearts. Their annual Light column trek always includes several areas of the Nice Airport. Anne says “Once again, I was aware of how so many of us were participating in Spirit’s blessing around the world and how flowing with the Spirit is so natural, easy and rewarding.”


Heartfelt volunteer, Sharon Soeller, shares her experience of the Christmas party for 2,000 children and families living in the deprived area of Skid Row, L.A.

A Heartfelt Christmas

Just before Christmas, I gave myself a wonderful gift: I joined in the Heartfelt annual Christmas project in downtown Los Angeles’ Gladys Park, where toys, clothing, sundries and food were distributed to families in need.

Not having been involved in this specific Heartfelt project before, I did not know what a massive undertaking it was. Over 2,000 toys were distributed to some of L.A.’s beautiful children and teens. Hundreds of individual bags containing men’s or women’s clothing and sundries were given to the parents and grandparents of these children. Not only were toys and gifts distributed, but Santa, Mrs. Claus and an elf spent the day listening to the dreams of these children. Instant photographs were taken of each child’s time with Santa, and was then handed to the parent as a special keepsake. Heartfelt set up a petting zoo, a bouncing room, and they offered pony rides. But it doesn’t end there – there was also food! Four kinds of hot soup were served with French rolls, and there were three scrumptious desserts and beverages, also. Everything was “first class.”

I showed up at 8 a.m. that morning and started helping the kitchen crew bake cookies. The soups served were choice, and the desserts of the best quality (eggnog brownies!) Next, I helped decorate a small room through which the adults passed to receive their gifts. What impressed me so much was the integrity with which all of the volunteers did everything. The large room, in which children entered to pick out a gift, was decorated as beautifully as if they were the most valuable and precious children in the world (which they are). When the decorating and cooking was complete at 11 a.m., the gates to the park were opened to receive the families. I got to go outside to serve food.

Because I had the opportunity to work in so many different areas, I began to realize the astounding amount of preparation and work that had gone into this project before I even showed up to help. I wonder how many hours it took to pull off a service project of this size? Two thousand toys and gifts had to be solicited, sorted, grouped by age and sex, wrapped, bagged and put on a truck. How many hours and dollars did it take to purchase adult clothing and sundries, sort them and bag them, too? There were over one hundred large bags of new sets of baby bedding readied for distribution. How many hours of coordination did it take to order, receive, organize and cook the food? Who coordinated and gathered the elaborate decorations that went up in the rooms and were used to create Santa’s reception area? How many hours, days and months of time did this Christmas project take to make the Christmas Holy Days brighter for one child?

Thank you to all of you amazing, wonderful Heartfelt volunteers who put your hearts on the line hour after hour, day after day to lift those who are no different than we. We are all God’s children.

I told you at the beginning that I had “gifted” myself. I did not know that I, too, would receive a gift from volunteering, but I did. As I served the families their food, I was given the greatest gift of their smiles, loving and sweetness.

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to gift yourself with a Heartfelt project, don’t miss out! It is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Sincerely, Sharon Soeller

I hope this short trip around Heartfelt’s Global Week of Service was an enjoyable blessing for each one of you. Thank you for your loving support of Heartfelt’s work.

Patti Rayner


Along with our gratitude for the outstanding generosity of our individual volunteers and donors, we would like to extend special thanks to the private foundations and corporate donors who made our Holiday Service Projects so abundantly successful by their financial or in-kind donations:

Addison Pools, American Equities, Armstrong, Hirsch, Jackoway, Tyerman & Wertheimer, Avon Rent A Car, Bags & Bows, The Balloon Lady, Boy Scouts of America, Campbell Soup Co., Classic Party Rentals, COSTCO, Doingsomething, DBL Realtors, The Educare Foundation, Equity Office/Pasadena Towers, Evergreen School, Flourish & Garlande Florists, Food Fanatics, For the Giving Foundation, Gotham Entertainment, Guerrero Mexican Foods, “I’ll Be You” Productions/Phoenix Pictures, Lambs & Ivy, Mission Foods,Morgan/Stanley/Dean/Witter, M.S.I.A., Mt. Diablo Medical Center, Cathy Stone’s Prancing’ Ponies, Radical Media, Rayne Productions, Shepherd Packaging, Signs on Time, So plantation, SRO Housing Corporation, The Toy Bank, The Traveler’s Foundation, United Rentals, The University of Santa Monica, Vie de France Yamazaki, Inc., Waste Management, The Whole Person Calendar, Works In Progress, Inc.

December 1-8, 1999, Cape town, South Africa

Heart felt’s Gift of Service to the World – This important world event in South Africa honored the Heartfelt Foundation by selecting our work of planetary service to mankind during the week of December 18-25, 1999 as a “Gift of Service to the World” and a part of the Parliament. Heartfelt was included in the Parliament’s literature and received attention by world religious leaders gathered at the event.

May your experience of the new Century be one of peace, joy and abundance.
In loving service,
Patti Rayner

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