HOUSTON - COVID-19 has many senior citizens secluded inside their homes but this is Positively Houston so the story doesn't stop there. Are you ready for the rest of the story? Grab your ugly Christmas sweater because today it's Christmas in July.
"Ready? Ready to go be Santa Claus?” Dance instructor Cookie Joe asks one of her students 12-year-old Braelyn Fortman who answers with a festive rendition of "Jingle bells. Jingle bells”.
Christmas in July is particularly nice during a pandemic when some have been at home alone for months.
"Ms. Ramona this is Arlene from Catholic Charities,” Arlene Herron calls out white wearing a Santa hat as she knocks on the door.
Has all this talk of Christmas in July confused you?
You see, volunteers with Catholic Charities are dressing up as the jolly one himself, not only taking food to senior citizens, they're also delivering smiles, conversation, and much-needed company.
"I really appreciate what y'all do for me. Every bit of it. I've been very sad around here, very sad. We don't do nothing around here. It's hard,” says Ramona Rosales.
At every home, these kind-hearted Christmas carolers come with hope, joy, and sometimes a song. 'We need a little Christmas right this very moment,” sings Cookie Joe.
The group arrives at a different door finding a senior with the same somber feeling, as COVID-19 keeps them isolated. "How you been doing?” asks Arlene. "I'm going crazy” answers 82-year-old Lupita Gutierrez. “When they cry, I cry right along with them. I tell them everything's going to be ok just pray. God will make a way,” says Arlene.
Many of the guests who come bearing gifts and offering a shoulder and a sympathetic ear are kids from Cookie Joe's Dancin School.
They've made dozens of special cards at their dance studio.
Cookie reads one to one elderly woman out on one of their special deliveries. "Look what it says on the inside. Be still and know I am God".
The kids are also packing goodie baskets complete with activity books and puzzles. Then they take a trip to see some happy hosts who are grateful Christmas is coming early.
"I love it. I love every minute of it,” smiles Braelyn after meeting and spending time with two elderly women.
"We've been very committed to teaching our children to think of others and to be generous in spirit and what better way than to have our youngest community members do something for our oldest community members,” explains Cookie Joe.
“Y'all coming by to see me, it's a blessing I tell you. Bye and thank you for dropping my food. Thank you very much. God bless y'all. God bless y'all. Bye,” Ramona waves to the group. She's clearly not ready for them to leave.
Safely having social distancing visitors in these odd times is certainly the pick-me-up many of us need. Stay safe and stay Positively Houston.