By Gabrielle Williams | December 25, 2020 at 11:43 AM EST – Updated December 25 at 11:43 AM
LAKE WACCAMAW, N.C. (WECT) – The holidays look different for everyone this year, especially the kids and teens at the Boys and Girls Home of North Carolina (BGHNC) in Lake Waccamaw.
This is Lauren Barnes’s first Christmas in the home. The 17-year-old has been living there since September and likes it so far.
“I’m graduating and I got back on track with school,” said Barnes.
Despite getting back on track and liking the home, she is a little sad that she’s not able to spend the holidays with her family this year.
“I think Christmas will be fun,” said Barnes. “I heard we get a lot of gifts and they make it as homey as they can; we eat and stuff like that. So I’m looking forward to staying positive.”
It’s been a tough year for the BGHNC, said Ricky Creech. Creech became the President and CEO of the home back in October. Along with starting just a few months ago, the pandemic has presented a challenge for everyone.
“The biggest being that we’ve had to limit family visits and kinship visits to our children because we don’t want our kids to be exposed,” said Creech. “Not only limiting family visits, but it’s also impacted our charitable giving because we can’t do the traditional fundraising and development activities that we have traditionally conducted throughout the state.”
Creech said they’ve had to rely on their donors to help make Christmas happen at the home.
“The holiday season for our children, regardless of their previous family environment is still a sad occasion,” said Creech. “Because they’re not with family. And so because of the tremendous support of our donors, who rally around us and our children during the Christmas time, we’re able to hopefully take that sadness and turn it into a smile by just keeping lots of love on the children in us that we have the opportunity and the privilege of serving.
This year, Creech and his family spent Christmas Eve with the boys of the home and Christmas Day with the girls. They got to eat a meal, bake cookies, open gifts, and make crafts.
Barnes hopes that those who always spend the holidays with loved ones don’t take it for granted.
“Be grateful that you do get to spend time with your family,” said Barnes. “Not everybody has that choice. Not everybody picks to be here. You never know what could happen to have them placed out of their family into a situation like this. So I just had to be grateful and thankful.”
Now more than ever, foster families are needed to support the children in the community. To learn more about that and/or donate to the Boys and Girls Home of NC, visit their website.
Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.