Woods Lake Elementary is a Kalamazoo public school with approximately 600 students enrolled. Of those children, 85% are on a free or reduced lunch program. Simply put, this means that 85% of the school’s students come from families living at or below the poverty line. While the school’s teachers and administrators do as much as they can to alleviate the circumstantial burdens that many of these families face, the reality is that the challenges they face outweigh the resources they have available for community aide. Some of the most pressing needs these families have are for high-quality winter coats, boots, socks, hats and gloves to help their children get through the harsh Michigan winter.

We will be investing $150,000 of this year’s Big Give offering in the students and families from Wood’s Lake Elementary School. With the help of 400 volunteers, Woods Lake will be transformed into a winter wonderland full of food, activities, games, and completed with an unforgettable free shopping experience. Every child in the school will be paired with a personal shopper who will help them pick out their very own, brand new winter gear. For many of these children, this will be the first time they have ever owned new, appropriately-sized, high-quality coats, boots, gloves and hats.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
— In the Bleak Midwinter, by Christina Rossetti

Do you feel your story can serve as a hope and inspiration to others? Contact us at mystory@radiant.church.