Party With a Purpose: 16 years of making Christmases brighter

Connie and Pat Michaelis wanted to have a party, but a party with a purpose. So, 16 years ago, they began inviting friends to attend a party and to bring a donation toward adopting a family through the Christmas Bureau. Last year, hundreds of their friends gathered at Christ the King Church to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and then divide up and shop for 40 Christmas Bureau families. This year, they have helped United Way package Party With a Purpose so others can hold their own event. Read more…

On Oct. 13, the couple joined United Way for the kick-off of the 2014 Christmas Bureau. Kent Townsend, United Way chairman, outlined how 2,500 families were adopted through Christmas Bureau last year, but it is always down to the wire getting everyone adopted. So, Townsend, himself a participant in Party With a Purpose, introduced the Michaelises who encouraged others to adopt the event.

Connie Michaelis explained that groups can start by adopting a single family. Then, as the number of people who join them grows, they can adopt more families. The Michaelises have many great stories to share from their experiences through the years. Once, a child wanted a trumpet. So, the group put out the word and received a half dozen offers of a trumpet. Other times, the Michaelises and friends have gone above the suggested Christmas Bureau gift amounts when they discovered important needs among families.

Pat Michaelis pointed out typical items on the wish lists of Christmas Bureau families – socks, underwear, pajamas and blankets  – very basic needs. The suggested gift amount for Christmas Bureau is $30 per person and $25 for a Christmas meal with $5 for each additional person in a family.