A Family Christmas Eve began in 2015 with a thought while Michelle Beyer was sitting in her kitchen on Thanksgiving. All the children and grandchildren were gone and she was left with so much food.
In Michelle’s Own Words:
I remember sitting at this very same table that I am sitting at right now thinking who is sitting home right now alone, no family, no home cooked dinner. I jumped on to Facebook and sent out a post to anyone that might be alone to come over and share a meal with me. Then I thought I want no one to be alone and no one should be alone. I was alone on Thanksgiving before I went to rehab and jail. My children were in NJ with my family while I got myself together. A friend of mine, Suzie Thomas, (Sorry Suzie) invited me over to her family’s home to share dinner and Thanksgiving traditions. I didn’t know anyone other than Suzie. I felt like a part of their family. That is all I want to accomplish with this dinner every year, year after year.
I called my friend and told him that I wanted to hold a Christmas dinner on Christmas day for the homeless. He said he does a distribution on Christmas Eve and I could join him if I wanted too. so in 2015, the “Family Christmas Eve” joined the Christmas Distribution event. It was held in the parking lot of Stark County District Library downtown Canton. My Radio Show, Addiction, Voices of Hope was the forum I used along with Facebook and word of mouth. We served food to 200 homeless and near homeless on that 70 degree Christmas Eve day. We had so much food donated to us and we were able to continue the blessing and send all the leftover food to Refuge of Hope.
In 2016, I asked my husband Gary Rivers to help us make this event more complete and helpful to our guests. Gary started forming our partnerships with The Martin Center, SARTA, Community Harvest, and many other organizations that helped us serve well over 700 people year. We renamed the event, Share the Warmth, “A Family Christmas Eve”.
Moving forward to 2018, which I am looking forward to more than any other year in the past. We have a new partner. This partner has the same mission as what is in my heart. They care and show that love and dedication every day.
So when Gary said to me what do I think about partnering with The Salvation Army? It was a no-brainer. I am proud and honored to be partners with The Salvation Army.
I want to thank everyone for all the years of service and dedication you have put into a Family Christmas Eve, “Share the Warmth”