Before One Heart was created, founder Stephanie Bowman taught parenting classes at a women’s shelter. It was Christmas of 2006 and there were 8 mothers and 17 children in the shelter. This was the first Christmas Giving Stephanie organized. She worked with her friends and family to make Christmas possible for these women and children. Together they collected presents including toys and clothes for all of the families. Each family received food and some even Christmas trees. Santa came to the shelter to deliver the presents to all 17 children. After the presents were passed out Stephanie noticed little 5 year old Johnny crying, holding a package of new underwear he had just opened. When Stephanie asked why he was crying he explained it was because he had never gotten underwear that were not used before. It was this pivotal moment that would change every Christmas to come.
Since then Christmas Giving has been a primary mission for Stephanie and her family, and for One Heart. In 2006 there were 17 children, in 2012 One Heart helped 1700 children. We have grown exponentially in our efforts to bring Christmas to as many families as possible. We deliver new toys, clothes, and food to foster homes, shelters, and the homeless. We collaborate with other non-profit organizations, schools and counseling centers and adopt families all over Central Florida to ensure every family has the opportunity to have Christmas. A significant percent of One Heart’s donations are anonymous, and also volunteers have the unique experience of delivering their presents to the families in need in person.
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