Wishes do come true for nonprofits

LAWRENCEVILLE -- For the past three years, the Gwinnett Coalition of Health and Human Services has asked local nonprofits what they would like to get from Santa Claus during the holiday season, then compiled a "wish list" for the Daily Post to run at the beginning of December.

Since its start in 2009, the list has made a positive impact in several ways, according to Coalition Helpline Director, Suzy Bus.

"It has helped because people can not only learn about an agency they perhaps knew a little about or perhaps not at all, but have a heart to know more about the work that agency is doing," she said. "They are then able to reach out and help meet one of the wishes and learn about the amazing work being done in our Gwinnett County community. ... It also cements friendships, and gives someone an opportunity to learn about needs they otherwise would not have known."

It's hard for the Coalition to determine how much of the list is fulfilled each year, but the organization hears the stories of holiday miracles, Bus said.

Some of the nonprofits ask for larger donations, like vans, computers and tablets. Despite the tough economy, many of these wishes are also met -- the Coalition can attest to that.

"Often the larger gifts and wishes are met -- the Coalition needed new monitors for the Helpline a couple of years ago and a donation was given of secondhand flat screens, which were a huge blessing to us," Bus said. "Sometimes the big wishes go unmet, but then Santa doesn't always bring us everything we wish for."

With so much success, Bus and the Coalition crew plan to continue compiling the list for years to come because the group enjoys spreading the cheer.

"The Christmas wish list has been a real joy to the Coalition as well -- knowing that we can share wishes or needs on behalf of our community partners and continue to help make a difference in the lives of our residents in need ... isn't that the spirit of the season?" Bus said. "I know it really encourages my heart when I hear of a wish fulfilled. We have a caring community and we are honored to be a part of it."