“Best Christmas Ever” Begins Selection Of 2017 Family
“Best Christmas Ever” is back in Bemidji to bring some holiday cheer to one deserving family.
“I think it’s important to know people are out there doing good for people and it’s our job to continue it,” says last year’s recipient Debby Yates, while wiping away a tear.
“To see some folks that are down on their luck and a little less fortunate around the holidays is, it’s kind of heartbreaking and it’s good to give back and see them have a great holiday,” adds Shawn Dudley, who is a Bemidji BCE team captain this year.
“Best Christmas Ever” started in 2011 with only one family, but this year they plan to help 100 families. The non-profit brings Christmas to families who have fallen on hard times. Last year’s recipient, Yates, was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. In the midst of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, her house burned down. Her co-workers nominated her to ensure she and her two daughters had a good holiday.
“They kept saying to me at work ‘this is going to be the best Christmas! I think you’re going to have the best Christmas ever!'” Yates says with a laugh. “All of a sudden, the bus pulls into my driveway and it’s full of these people and I’m like ‘what’s going on?’ and they came out and they were like ‘Surprise!’ and they had presents for my girls! For days after that it happened I would be driving in my car and I would just start to cry because I couldn’t believe that people would be so nice.”
13 families from the Bemidji area have been nominated to receive the Best Christmas Ever this year. The selection of the chosen family started last night at C.K. Dudley’s in Bemidji.
“We were looking through everyone’s nominations and that’s the hardest thing about it,” says Dudley.
The big reveal won’t happen until the week before Christmas, but there’s still ways the community can get involved.
“We have a couple of tree locations that are going to be around the community and there will be tags on each tree that individuals or community members can grab a tag, provide a gift for the family, bring it back before December 20th,” says team captain Jake Bluhm.
Yates is now on the team to help select the next Bemidji BCE recipient. She says the important thing to her is giving back. “We always need to look at this as we’re blessed and we need to pay it forward.”