An emotional holiday surprise for Clinton Township family
Santa visited a Clinton Township family in need Dec. 20 and brought with him thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts, new bikes, a big screen television and a hefty check.
The Jolly Old Elf, along with about 40 volunteers – many singing Christmas carols and others tearing up with emotion – knocked at the front door of the Marchesi home late Saturday morning.
The Marchesi family includes Frank, and his children Hannah, 12, Thomas, 10, Anthony, 7, and Nathan and Josephine, both 6. The children were all adopted by Frank and his late ex-wife, Dawn, who died in July from a septic infection.
Frank works for the U.S. Postal Service; he and Dawn, who divorced a few years ago, had shared custody of the children.
Yatooma’s Foundation for the Kids, an Oakland County nonprofit that provides support for families who have lost a parent, sponsored the Extreme Christmas Makeover. The Clinton Township family was one of three receiving surprise gifts that day; the other two were in Detroit.
“This is such a shock,” Frank said between tears while putting on a new coat. “My sister arranged this. I had no idea this was going to happen.”
While Santa greeted the family, others unloaded a truck that was filled with six appliance-sized boxes. Inside each name-labeled box was around $500 worth of wrapped gifts, including everything from Barbie dolls and superhero playsets, to necessities such as coats, socks and backpacks.
The family also received five new bikes and helmets, a big screen television, a DVD player and a check covering three months of living expenses. The gifts were worth an excess of $3,000, said Jennifer Moore, of the Yatooma Foundation, which has been granting Christmas surprises since 2003.
“We had never done a dad before. It’s a unique family. They came together in a unique way. He’s a good, hard-working guy who’s trying his best and this happened. He didn’t know what he was going to do for Christmas this year,” Moore said.
A crowd gathered near the home on Woodward Street as the family opened gifts on their front lawn. After the frenzy of unwrapping, the kids rode their new bikes down the street and then the family posed for pictures. The volunteer elves helped the family carry the gifts back into the house before they were off to their next stop. Continued…