Dozens of kids lined up to get their faces painted and cookies decorated at the annual Christmas at The Center. Hosted by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ at The Center at Donaldson, the Sisters invite the local community over for a fun, free night with the family. On top of cookie decorating and face painting, Joy to the World-themed activities included frame decorating, pictures with Santa, and refreshments such as hot cocoa.
For Jessye Gilley, the Donor Relations Officer for the Poor Handmaids, this year’s Christmas at The Center was her first. But it’s an event that has been going on for several years and is back after being on hiatus due to COVID-19.
“It’s a really neat activity that the Sisters started some time ago to bring people to The Center,” said Gilley. “The Sisters love to have littles in the building, so it’s really nice to bring people in and say hello to the Sisters and allow us to spread a little holiday cheer.”
Arleen Peterson, Executive Director of Relational Services for the Poor Handmaids, was most excited about the addition of a Christmas light show around the campus. But what she wants the community to know is that the Motherhouse at The Center at Donaldson isn’t some secretive place, it is a place where they enjoy being a part of and engaging in the community.
“This is one of our great opportunities for us to show how much we love the Donaldson and Plymouth communities,” said Peterson. “Being able to interact with folks of all ages is what keeps their hearts and their enthusiasm alive for what God’s love is for the entire community.”
The Center at Donaldson includes multiple Poor Handmaid ministries and includes the Motherhouse where around 60 Sisters reside today. Celebrating its Centennial year, the Motherhouse will always be a place for the community.
“It’s so important to know that everyone is welcome to come and experience everything we have to offer,” said Peterson. “We’re here and we’re spreading the love of God and the Christmas season to all.”
The Sisters, the staff, and everyone loves Christmas at The Center and are so glad to be back for the first time in three years. From smiling faces to dressing up, it was hard for anyone to pick just one favorite thing about the event.
“My favorite part is being able to dress like an elf!” said Gilley. “Plus you can’t beat seeing the look on the kid’s faces and the Sister’s faces.”
“I think being able to see a young person light up and the smile on their face when they’re doing one of the activities is one of my most favorite things,” said Peterson. “But it’s so hard to pick just one, there’s too many that I like!”
For more information about the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and The Center at Donaldson, go to www.poorhandmaids.org.