In December 2005, Oprah's Angel Network threw a Christmas party in Johannesburg, South Africa. Oprah's Angel Network invited local orphaned or at-risk children who struggle to obtain the things many often take for granted—food, education and a safe place to call home.
Buses picked up the children in their communities the morning of the party. For them, Christmas is something they've heard of but have never been able to celebrate.
The children spilled into a Christmas carnival—complete with games and inflatable jumping castles.
There were clowns on hand just for laughs.
The children even got their faces painted!
A huge Christmas tree overflowed with presentsa sack of presents for each child! Shoes, clothes, dolls, toys, soccer balls, pots and pans, toiletries, plates and utensils, books and school supplies filled each sack.
Oprah's Angel Network found great support from North American and South African companies. Nike donated shoes for every child.
Hasbro gave toys to help fill those sacks of presents—including games and trucks.
Hewlett-Packard set up a digital camera and printer so the children can leave with a picture of themselves—a rare treasure.
Build-a-Bear also set up an entire store! Each child picked, stuffed and dressed an animal.
Toys aren't the only gifts that bring joy. These children live in 220 different households throughout Soweto, South Africa—households are often run by grandmothers or other children. In addition to toys and gifts, each household also received six months worth of food parcels. Some families also received one year's worth of electricity.
The children needed clothes, too. A grant was created for school uniforms—a treasure for many of these children. Also, after the event, the oldest children went on an organized shopping trip to Pick 'n Pay, a local department store. They felt empowered to pick out clothes for themselves and their younger siblings.
At the end of the day, the children felt overwhelmed by love and generosity. Extended family members—the grannies that head so many of the households—said that they believed their prayers were heard.
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