A woman in Greenville has spent the past few weeks working to gift a family of five a happy holiday. On Monday, Dec. 14, her work paid off when she was able to give over 30 presents to a family in Duncan going through a rough time.
Barb Gunter has represented the nonprofit organization, Best Christmas Ever in the Upstate, this year. Founded in 2011, the group helps families in need by partnering with local organizations and businesses to provide gifts that could help alleviate some burden on a family.
Best Christmas Ever uses individuals the group calls “captains” to help facilitate the selection of the family in need and organizing the gifts the family receives — each family member receives 10 gifts, and then there’s one gift meant to alleviate a challenge the family faces. That gift could be money or maybe even a needed appliance.
In the Upstate this year, Gunter is paying it forward. Last year, Best Christmas Ever helped her family while her late grandson was hospitalized with cancer. The gifts provided to him and her son and daughter-in-law lifted their spirits during a painful time, Gunter said.
Another parent of a child with cancer nominated Gunter’s family. “They literally showed up to the hospital with bags of gifts, and also gifted them a large monetary donation that they were able to use … to help pay off all of the medical bills,” Gunter said.
In 2019, the organization helped 125 families in need across three countries. This year, the goal is 165 families, according to Gunter.
Gunter has spent the last few weeks working to get gifts to a single mother and her four boys — one of whom has special needs and has difficulty walking up the stairs of their apartment complex. To help the mother eliminate having to take her boys back and forth to the laundromat, Gunter got a local business to donate and install a washer and dryer.
“That was one of their life-changing gifts,” said Gunter, “and that’s the thing that Best Christmas Ever does — they change the lives of the people that they bless.”
Greenville’s Swamp Rabbits hockey team has also gotten involved thanks to Gunter. Not only did the cheer team and mascot help deliver the presents, but the team hosted the family on Dec. 18. The money raised at the game went toward a monetary gift to the family.
“We were honored when Best Christmas Ever reached out to our organization to participate in surprising a deserving family for the holidays,” a spokesperson for the team said in a statement leading up to hosting the family. “We loved the joy and energy of the family when delivering gifts, and we look forward to hosting them at our Home Opener tomorrow [Dec. 18].”
You can donate to the Upstate efforts of Best Christmas Ever here: https://bcemovement.kindful.com/bce2020/bce-upstate-south-carolina.