Santa’s Helpers Fulfill 300 Children’s Wishes this Holiday
Local Real Estate Firms, Forsberg Real Estate Company, TA Forsberg Inc, Keller Williams and Santa’s Wishlist raise more than $26,000 to give the gift of Christmas to Lansing area children in need.
On the week of Christmas, Santa’s helpers caught a glimpse into what a child’s morning would be like on Dec. 25 thanks to a local grassroots effort, Santa’s Wishlist, who’s mission it is to ensure every child in the Lansing area has gifts to open on Christmas day.
The idea behind Santa’s Wishlist began during an annual holiday party where Brent Forsberg, president of Forsberg Real Estate Company and TA Forsberg Inc, Paul Brown of Keller Williams and Eric Speckin of Speckin Forensics gathered together to celebrate the season. Each year these friends would bring toys to donate to a local charity to be distributed to deserving families for Christmas. Forsberg and his friends observed that many local families either miss the deadlines to request gifts from other charities or they didn’t know there were options out there for them, so in an effort to reach more children, Santa’s Wishlist was born.
Nine years ago, Erich Speckin decided to create a charity that turned into Santa’s Wishlist and Forsberg and friend, Paul Brown, happily joined in. Little did they know that their caring compassion for children would be so contagious that today there are more than 50 volunteers and many donors in mid-Michigan involved in fulfilling more than 300 deserving children’s Christmas wishes.
“Every year I’m humbled by how many people come together to give of their time and resources to help put smiles on children’s faces during the holidays. As one of our volunteers posted, ‘every child is one caring adult away from being a success story.’ Our reason for doing this is to positively impact kids’ lives for the future – our hope is that the happy memories they make this Christmas will instill hope in their hearts for a brighter future,” said Forsberg.
This year, more than $26,000 was raised through donations from individuals, families and local companies which will go to purchase gifts for 300 Lansing area children. Droves of volunteers met at the Bath Township Meijer to shop for and spend $100 on each child based on items from his/her wish list.
“Our team members were incredibly excited to be part of Santa’s Wishlist this year and always look forward to giving back to the community,” said Dana Beattie, store director at the Bath Township Meijer. “Being able to make a difference for 300 local children helps everyone’s holiday shine a little brighter.”
Children are referred to Santa’s Wishlist through caring individuals, families and school counselors. The entire process from shopping to wrapping to distributing the gifts occurs in three days – this year, it was Dec. 19 – 21. Every child gets three to four gifts. “If they ask for clothes, they get toys too because every kid deserves to get toys for Christmas,” Forsberg said.
Santa’s Wishlist wants to thank all those who financially made this program possible in Lansing including Bath Township Meijer, Two Men and a Truck, Big Mitten Moving, Eric and Kim Stevenson for donating their space at The Firm in downtown Lansing, Equinimity Wealth Management, the Caltrader Family, the Dua Family and many more.