Christmas for the homeless: Santa, Elves and a winter wonderland in Houston surprise shelter moms and kids
The greatest gift
Houston's chilly Christmas morning turned into a snowy delight in one small corner of the city when the 150 mothers and children at the modest Mission of Yahweh homeless shelter were treated to the holiday celebration of a lifetime.
It was a most generous gift — "Christmas on a Mission" — that Monica Hartland Blaisdell and John Blaisdell launched six years ago to bring special joy to the unfortunates who would otherwise be on the streets.
By 8:30 Christmas morning the mission campus had been transformed into a winter wonderland complete with snow (and the requisite snowball fights) and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus along with a posse of elves. There were games, face painting, a 25-foot slide and a Christmas DJ. Christmas cookies and hot chocolate for everyone!
Mission volunteers presented carry-on bags, filled with much-needed personal items, to each mom while the youngsters received toys requested in their letters to Santa.
Joining the Blaisdells as lead elves were Bethany Hartland, Julie Pitts, Megan Blaisdell, Ginnell Marshall and Paul-David Van Atta.
Sharing this true spirit of Christmas adventure were volunteers, many accompanied by their children, including Joanna and Brad Marks, Samantha and David Kennedy, Hannah and Cal McNair, Janelle and Greg Reid, Warner Roberts, Charlie Hartland, Angie Roberts, Ben Johnston and Erich Ploog, Christine Kirchner, Brian Hartland, Adele Hartland and Monsour Taghdisi and Henry Richardson.