BOISE -- Those staying and working at the City Light Home for Women and Children say while it may seem like a sad time of year to be in a shelter, the Christmas season is one of the best times to be there.
Guests there say the community makes the holidays better for them. When KTVB visited the shelter on Monday, there were heaps of clothes, toys and other donations in the entryway and in other rooms.
"Christmas Eve, Christmas day, we get to see a ton of donations come in. It's insane. Anything from cash donations to clothing to toys," Jessica Tuck, City Light Community Relations Assistant, said. "Christmas is the most exciting time of year at City Light."
The donations help the shelter all year and go toward helping families like Kelli Wilcox and her 2-month-old son Nathan get a new start.
"When I got here, I had the clothes on my back and that was it, and they provided everything. He's got everything he needs. they take care of him and it's been amazing," Wilcox said.
City Light staff say they work to help families see hope and love, especially during Christmas.
"It's hard on people if they don't have places to go or family to spend the holidays with, we want to make it extra special and make sure that they know that this is their second home," Tuck said.
Many women here say because of generosity from staff, other guests and the community, they end up seeing Christmas differently.
"City of Light has become my family. The people here are my family. I plan on coming back next year and being a part of [Christmas] somehow. I'll forever be a part of City Light now, in some way," Wilcox said. "In the past, it's just been a commercial rush to hurry up and buy everything, and stress. And this year, we've really tried to focus on the reason of Christmas and the meaning behind it."
Staff says anyone who stops by this time of year to donate or help out also ends up seeing Christmas a little differently too.
"I get to see people's lives change. I get to see kids filled with hope. I get to see moms begin a new life. I mean, there's nothing better. It's the true meaning of Christmas to see people start a new life," Tuck said.
The City Light Home for Women and Children gets 68% of its yearly donations during the Christmas season, and those donations help get the shelter through the entire year.
City Light is part of the Boise Rescue Mission, one of the organizations that benefits by our annual Community Cares Day. You can still donate to that effort by clicking here.