The 2020 version of the Joy of Giving was akin to a Christmas fairytale. The year was fraught with a myriad of challenges for everyone, none more serious than the current pandemic. Like a fairytale, there is usually one hero who believes in the mission so strongly they make the others around them believe in that mission too.
The hero in this story is Nicki Davis. The Joy of Giving, which just completed their 32nd year of giving, is her creation. Born out of the desire to escape loneliness through helping others, her mission has always been the same: to give children less fortunate, who are facing their own challenges, the opportunity to enjoy Christmas to its fullest.
Nicki’s ability to spread her belief in the mission of the Joy of Giving is key to its success. However, it was a particularly difficult year for charitable fundraisers and how the Joy would meet those difficulties was in question. “With all that we faced this year, it was almost unbelievable what our small group of determined believers accomplished. We did it! Everyone stepped up and we did it.” New to Nicki’s side is ‘Head Elf’ Allyson Richards. “She is simply unbelievable! The right person at the right time to assist me with all the details that make the Joy of Giving work.”
The funds needed to make the Joy a success take many months to gather. The charitable 501c3 started the year off with a lower threshold of funding, but Nicki’s appeals for assistance were met head–on by the many people believing strongly in the mission. “Is it hard work? Absolutely!” stated Nicki. “Especially this year.”
A big hero in this Christmas fairytale is Bob Galloway, Manager of the local Walmart where the Joy of Giving has taken place for several years. Walmart plays a major role in the success of the Joy of Giving. For several years, Bob has seen the ‘spirit’ of the Joy of Giving unfold firsthand. He believes in its mission and he spreads that belief to his employees who happily work side by side with Joy of Giving volunteers. This year, Bob had the added challenge of working to make the event safe by meeting the Walmart safety protocols. “It was just another challenge we had to meet.” Instead of funneling everyone into one large aisle as usual, social distancing measures were put in place. The volunteers worked at tables Walmart with plexiglass installed specifically for this Joy of Giving event.
“Missing this year were the children themselves. The event was also earlier this year, starting at 5 AM. But one look at the shopping carts and we knew the children were going to have wonderful surprises come Christmas morning! That is what this is all about! The children! And in the meantime, we kept them safe,” Nicki extolled.
The 32nd year of the Joy of Giving was a resounding success. “Once a family is identified, we account for every child in the family. Each year, 100% of the donations are divided by the number of children. We were so pleased the outcome exceeded our expectations for the year,” remarked Nicki Davis. “Many of these families are facing the toughest times they’ve ever experienced. We are pleased to know 900 children will wake up Christmas morning to $150 in Christmas presents chosen by their parents. That is what the Joy of Giving is all about and why many of our sponsors step up year after year to make the Joy of Giving possible. It is all thanks to them.”