All the family wanted for Christmas was: Socks.
The family did get socks – lots of socks. But they received so much more.
The family of Rodolfo and Luz Murillo of Hawarden drove away from Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center on Wednesday afternoon with a pickup filled with gifts, thanks to the Christmas-giving spirit of the 20 students, three teachers and parents of Doon Christian School.
“We’re very grateful,” Rodolfo said through an interpreter, with an expression of amazement and gratitude. “We weren’t expecting all this. Thank you very much.”
Mary Leusink, the teacher for grades K-2, said Doon Christian School does a Christmas-giving project every year to show the students that “it is better to give than receive.”
In past years, school personnel easily could think of someone in the Doon area to bless, but they didn’t have anyone in mind this year. So Leusink asked her daughter Kari Ney, a registered nurse for the midwifery team at Promise, if she knew of a family that the school could help out.
The Murillos were one of the families that Ney suggested because they had dealt with various financial and emotional stresses in recent years, including a daughter who had been treated for leukemia. They have four children, Rodolfo, 16; Allisson, 9; Natalie, 7; and Kassandra, 4, and are expecting fifth child next spring.
“We want to have our students show that the real reason we celebrate Christmas is by the sharing of Christ’s love by blessing those in need,” she said. “We talked about how it could be all of us in their situation, too; how we are blessed beyond what we deserve. As teachers, we shared how God already had this family picked out for our project this year long before we even knew about them.”
The family had a simple Christmas wish.
“The family wanted socks,” Leusink said. “When I told the students during our Friday Devotional Chapel, they were so quiet. Socks?”
They wanted to do more, so they decided to add a pair of pants, a shirt and a sweatshirt for each member of the family – as well as a toy for each of the children.
The day after Thanksgiving break, the items were written on cards and hung on the Christmas tree at the school. Each student took at least one card; some took two. They purchased the items, wrapped them and placed them in a growing pile under the tree.
Parents also got into the giving spirit by donating money that was used to purchase gift cards to Walmart, Fareway and Casey’s. With the family expecting another child, a large variety of baby items – including diapers in various sizes, wipes, sleepers, Onesies and blankets – were donated as well.
The gifts were delivered to Promise and given to the family on Wednesday.
Leusink said the students really embraced the project.
“They were all extremely excited,” she said. “They talked about the family and prayed daily for them. The middle room wrote the children letters. Because of the ages of the children, our students were more than excited this year. They could easily relate to the needs of the family. In fact, the students are already anxious for next year: ‘Can we please do this again?’”