Holiday gift program gearing up for applicants
Applications will soon be accepted for families needing assistance in providing Christmas presents for their children thanks to the dedication of women and men with Oma’s Hearts Inc.
Audrey McFalls made an idea of 12 years come to life in January when Oma’s Heart Incorporated was born. The organization blossomed from the dedication of three women who wanted to help renew the Christmas spirit for Cape families this holiday season.
The mission statement for the organization is “to offer parents the ability to provide Christmas gifts for their children, with the help of committed volunteers that have the desire and drive to obtain and supply cost free merchandise. Renewing a sense of Christmas spirit in families through a financially difficult time.”
The name of the organization stemmed from the Dutch word for grandmother, oma and McFalls mother’s famous expression while placing her hand on her heart, “kids are my heart.”
Since becoming a non-profit organization it has gained corporate sponsorship from the Kiwanis Club and YMCA.
The organization announced the three locations where families can fill out an application to receive presents for their children Tuesday morning.
The application, McFalls said will consist of the family’s name, address, phone number, the number of children in the family and their ages, along with the parents’ driver’s license number(s.)
“Once they turn in that application, they will receive a voucher per child,” she said, which will contain the age of each child and a time they can shop.
Parents can shop for two gifts per child with a maximum of 10 gifts per family at no cost to them.
“That is the only cap we really have on anything,” McFalls said.
McFalls said each family will receive a two-hour time slot to shop at the store. The store will be open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Dec. 10. Parents must bring their child’s birth certificate, voucher and drivers license with them when they visit the store.
The locations to fill out an application includes First Christian Church of Cape Coral, 2620 Country Club Blvd., on Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.; First Assembly West, 133 NE Pine Island Road on Nov. 19 from 3-8 p.m. and Nov. 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Grace Church, 4151 Hancock Bridge Pkwy, on Nov. 23 from 3:30-6:30 p.m.
A Christmas experience will be had for all those who receive a voucher to go shopping at the store. Once the families arrive they will have the opportunity to view a live nativity, listen to carolers, shop in the toy and kids store, visit a wrapping station and mingle with Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus.
The aroma of hot chocolate and cookies will fill the air as Mrs. Claus hands them out to all the families who visit the store, while Santa Claus brings holiday cheer to the children. A station for the children will also be set up so they can write letters to Santa Claus.
McFalls said they currently have more than 1,000 toys in their possession, which does not include 400 toys in transport, the collection from three schools which are doing toy drives and a bike run that will be held later in November.
An open house and ribbon cutting will be held on Dec. 9 at the Kiwanis Club for the toy store. The Calendar Girls and First Assembly West will perform during the event.
Oma’s Heart will hold a volunteer meeting on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the new Kiwanis building, 360 Santa Barbara Blvd. McFalls said they are seeking volunteers who want to help transport toys from their storage unit to the Kiwanis Club on Dec. 3.
“It is the last meeting before the actual event takes place,” she said, adding that everyone is invited to attend.
The organization also is holding two fund raisers this month to help their cause. The first one will be held on Nov. 13 at Friendship Lanes for a bowlathon from noon to 4 p.m. Registration will begin at noon and bowling will kick off at 1 p.m.
McFalls said those who register will receive three games and shoes for $10.
She said for an extra $1 they can play against Santa Claus. The bowlathon will also feature silent auctions and raffles.
The second event will be held on Nov. 20 at Harley Davidson in Fort Myers for a bike run. The run will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Harley Davidson with the last bike out at 1 p.m. The other stops on the run will include Gatorz, Friendship Lanes and Bubbas before it ends at Ragged Ass Saloon where Soap Box and Calendar Girls will be playing.
For information visit www.omasheart.org or call McFalls at 239-989-6718.