Friday, December 5, 2003
Family gets into spirit to Lullaby Connection


Although the invitation to Lisa Johnson's residence showed a picture of the Grinch, the spirit of giving inside the home was anything but humbug.

Johnson recently hosted a toy drive at her home in Henderson for those who support the Lullaby Connection, a local organization that works to provide local families with items such as diapers or even burial clothes for infants who have passed away. She and other members such as Darla Hayden sent out postcard invitations to more than 300 local families. Nearly 200 people showed up and stayed for refreshments, which were entirely supplied by Johnson. Others just dropped off toys and left.

Johnson said the event was something she always wanted to do since the first time she volunteered with the Lullaby Connection.

"For the past couple of years, just our family has bought things for places like the Clark County Health District because their nurses usually end up doing it," she said. "One year, I gave a nurse presents for one entire family. She was so appreciative, and told me that sometimes nurses spend their entire paychecks on patients. Many people in their care don't have jobs because of illness. I thought at that time, if I can ever afford it, I want to have a big open house to help the organizations like that one who don't usually get a lot of help."

This year's gifts are scheduled to be delivered to places such as Child Haven and the Department of Children & Family Services. Johnson said she and the other members will wrap several hundred donated toys and label them with names of children they received from the agencies.

Hayden said this year's toy drive was a huge endeavor, considering that it was planned and executed by only a handful of people, but it's just one more way the Lullaby Connection -- which was started by a few local women who wanted to make a difference in the lives of people who couldn't afford common necessities -- can reach out.

"What's great about it is that it's just community people helping community people," Hayden said. "We found out there is a need for this, and every year we have done Christmas but not on this scale. I think its a heartfelt thing that people are willing to reach out, and 100 percent of their efforts or donations go right to the community."

Hayden said the recent party was the perfect way to bring people together to celebrate the holidays by giving gifts to those who might not otherwise receive them.

"(The event) was a get to know people, fun service thing," she said. "There's a wide variety of families who don't make enough to sustain their family but make too much to get assistance. It's been neat to see how generous the community has been.

"Almost all of the things we've done as the Lullaby Connection we've done with no money. Our slogan is that we want your hearts, not your wallets."

Although Johnson doesn't want to be recognized for her huge personal effort on behalf of the Lullaby Connection and this year's drive, Hayden said everyone knows the effort Johnson put forth so local children could have a nice Christmas.

"It's been nice to see other people (helping). More than half has been individuals," Hayden said. "But (Johnson) just stepped up to the plate, which was a huge undertaking. She's an incredible person."

Originally Printed in The View News - Green Valley/Henderson on 12/05/03