“They’re still trying to find normalcy, and Christmas was just my foot in the door to get that.”

Michelle Darrisaw
December 19, 2017
Milkos/Getty Images

No one would argue that it’s been a rough hurricane season this year, with the South enduring the full brunt of destruction from two catastrophic storms. Just as Texans were slowly starting to pick up the pieces left behind in the Lone Star State by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma’s forceful winds and rain pelted certain parts of Florida. Which explains why many of the Southerners affected by these two storms have the same wish on their Christmas list this year: to return to a sense of normalcy.

Well, one Alabama woman is stepping into Santa’s black leather boots to fulfill the holiday wishes of those who lost everything this year, particularly those in Texas still reeling from Harvey’s devastating blow. Courtney Adams, of Auburn, Alabama, turned around what would have otherwise been a disastrous holiday season for almost 200 families. How’d she do it? Facebook. How she continues to do it months later? The willingness of donors and other caring citizens who were moved to help after those heartbreaking images of people wading through flood water flashed across their TV screens.

Adams, 33, is originally from Kingwood, Texas, and was compelled to start a holiday adoption group on Facebook called Holidays for Harvey. The group’s aim was to match families inthe Houston area to donors and “adoptees” across the country.

“I sat down and created a group on Facebook and I just started sharing it,” said the mother of three. “People started joining and asking for help, and people started offering to help and give back.”

Some of the many ways volunteers give back is by purchasing Christmas trees, gifts, or gift cards for those families in need, in hopes that they can have something to look forward to unwrapping on Christmas morning. This also takes the added pressure off of parents who are saving towards a new home or who have exhausted their funds in rebuilding.

According to Yahoo, Adams, along with two of her friends from Auburn, have assisted 188 families in the Houston area, including 620 kids and 1,045 family members.

For her part, Adams is just happy that a simple concept has helped hundreds of people get back on their feet.

“I wanted the families to know that we do love you guys,” she said. “We know you’re still out there and that the rebuilding process hasn’t even begun for some. They’re still trying to find normalcy and Christmas was just my foot in the door to get that.”

But it’s not necessarily about the gifts as much as it is the sense of community the group provides. And the one gift she’s happy this group can give is the one that can’t be wrapped in shiny, festive paper yet it’s the most valuable: the gift of love and support.

“To see the families that are supported and to hear how something so simple can bring so much to them, it’s just a good reminder that less is more,” explained Adams. “It’s all about the relationships we make as opposed to the stuff we think we need to make us happy."

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To learn more about how you can help a family in Houston, please visit Holidays for Harvey on Facebook.