When the holiday season grows near, thoughts of Christmas lists and holiday cookies and family time dance around in our heads, but it’s also particularly nice to see the world embrace the spirit of giving.
From the restaurant that’s offering free Christmas dinner to the homeless and elderly, to the single dad who donated his frequent flyer miles to strangers so they could fly home for the holidays, stories of kind-hearted individuals are flooding our newsfeeds — and it’s truly inspiring.
One mom in Blackwood, South Wales, has gone above and beyond this year to help the homeless in her town. Not only has she accrued over 1,000 gifts for the homeless, but she has also arranged a private — and free — screening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Jenna Curtis, 32, runs the Blackwood Arts Academy, a drama group for children and adults, and wanted to encourage the kids to give back for the holidays.
Her initiative began as an effort to collect donations for another organization, to be dispersed to homeless shelters throughout the city of Cardiff, Wales, but then she decided to tackle her own town of Blackwood first.
After liaising with the Blackwood Town Council, she determined that there were 20 homeless people living in her town, “so I decided to set out and really treat these 20,” Curtis told Babble.
Since beginning the project three weeks ago, Curtis and other volunteers have collected over 1,000 gifts, consisting of 100 bins of clothes, a plasma screen TV and microwave for the homeless shelter, and many other gifts. Curtis, however, did not stop there.
Beyond the essentials, she wanted to give the homeless people in her town an experience they would never forget, so Curtis reached out to Maxime Cinema to see what they could do. Curtis initially offered to purchase 20 tickets for a regular movie time, but the theater generously waived the fee, and offered to have a private screening!
Curtis plans to give each homeless person a backpack with toiletries, a sleeping bag, and a small holiday gift bag, filled with items such as chocolates, biscuits, quiz books, pens, DVDs to watch at the shelter, and one very special piece of paper … a movie voucher for a private screening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on January 9th.
“I wanted them to have a treat of Christmas like we all have,” Curtis said of her motivation to provide the homeless with the magical world of Harry Potter. While going to the movie theater may not always occur to us as a luxury, Curtis points out that it’s an opportunity many don’t get to experience.
“It’s a film of the now and what everyone is talking about,” Curtis continues, “and will leave them thinking about it for a while to come.”
The attendees will also be provided with a hot drink and popcorn at the Maxime Cinema.
“I am looking forward to seeing them smile and enjoy something for those two hours that most of us take for granted,” Curtis told Babble.
Curtis’s story reminds us to not only be grateful for everything we have, but to think about those less fortunate now, and all year round. I hope all of the people touched by Curtis’s generosity will do their own part to bring a bit more joy this holiday season.