Boys Town South Florida’s Hope for the Holidays event has been a long-standing gift-distribution tradition for children in need. The event’s magic started 20 years ago when Elizabeth “Lili” Lopez-Smith decided to bring joy to children served by Boys Town South Florida by pairing them with individual and corporate donors. Lili collaborates with our program staff members to get a list of the gifts the children want and need, and she matches the gifts with community donors. Lili shared that what moved her heart to get the Hope for the Holidays event going was the fact that she comes from a big family and there were occasions growing up when gifts didn’t come as easily to her and her siblings. As a mother of three children, she developed an even more profound hope to see as many children as possible experience the beautiful wonder of childhood, like receiving gifts on Christmas morning. Please read further to see what motivates Lili Lopez-Smith to bring joy to hundreds of children each year.
1. What does the Holiday Season mean to you, and what do you look forward to doing every year?
One word that encapsulates my greatest joy: family. I eagerly anticipate cherishing moments with my grown children, family and loved ones. We hold dear our treasured traditions, and it warms my heart to witness the childlike enthusiasm that persists in them, even as adults. This unwavering devotion to our shared customs brings me immense delight and fulfillment.
2. If you want to inspire others to be part of Hope for the Holidays, what would you say to them?
If your hard work is not frequently acknowledged, this is the time. While I cannot personally deliver the gifts, it must be an invaluable experience to witness the joy on people's faces when a Family Consultant arrives at the families’ homes with numerous bags of toys.
3. Are there any donors or Boys Town employees you would like to highlight that have helped you during Hope for the Holidays?
One of our most generous donors prefers to remain anonymous, but her family consistently contributes in a caring manner. We highly appreciate her support, as well as the contributions received from various companies and individuals. Their assistance is invaluable, and we are truly grateful for their help. The entire staff at Boys Town actively contributes by identifying the beneficiaries and their families, as well as facilitating the organization and delivery of the gifts.
Special Shout-Out to our 2023 Corporate and Individual Donors:
· The GEO Group
· QEP Co., Inc. – Kathleen Wright
· The Becker Family
· Valentina Jorge Diaz from Blanca Mackrey State Farm
· Maggie Smith
· Karen Folino and her youth group
· An Anonymous Family