Operation Christmas List: “If I could wish for one thing, that would be never to be homeless again.”

Posted at 6:43 PM, Dec 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-03 18:43:38-05

The best part about the holidays is making people smile! We can all make that happen by participating in Operation Christmas List.

It’s our annual toy drive to help kids in area shelters and transitional housing.

Aviana and Roderick are honor roll students and while they play, their mom Jannika is dealing with some real life “grown up” worries.

“Right now I’m still looking for employment. My goal is to get back to the way things were,” she says.

That’s easier said than done for the mother of four who has a sick infant in the hospital at CHKD and recently transitioned out of a homeless shelter and into a small apartment.

But, despite it all Jannika still believes.

“I walk by faith and not by sight,” she says.

Her children know nothing about why they have fallen on hard times. They just know that they made the honor roll with A’s and B’s, that they’ve been good, and that Christmas is coming.

On 9-year-old Aviana’s list is a cell phone and an Easy Bake Oven. 8-year-old Roderick also wants a phone, as well as a Nintendo Wii.

Donations made to Operation Christmas List will help shelter families and families making the transition to get back on their feet.

And while Jannika appreciates the help, she wishes there was a job in one of those gift bags.

“It’s kind of hard when people realize you have an infant. Can you manage? Is your schedule flexible? Things like that, so it’s kind of hard,” she says.

So while Operation Christmas List takes action to bring smiles to the faces of children on Christmas morning, this mom has a wish of her own.

“If I could wish for one thing, that would be never to be homeless again,” she says.

And there are dozens of families like the Williams’ who just need a little help until they can get back on their feet.

Take Action for the kids with Operation Christmas List. You can drop of a toy donation to any area Southern Bank, Tropical Smoothie, Walmart, or Pembroke Mall.

And if you don’t feel like shopping, Southern Bank will take your cash donation and double it.

For more information on Operation Christmas List, including donation locations and lists, visit

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