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Nonprofit group hopes to spread joy

 

JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

 

Denver nonprofit organization Spreading Joy plans to bring holiday cheer to the residents and children of a local battered women’s shelter this season through the charity event dubbed “Christmas JOY.”

The function will be Saturday at New Grace Baptist Church in Iron Station. Spreading Joy contacted a number of women currently staying at Amy’s House in Lincolnton, along with former women residents of the shelter, and invited them to attend the event.

The women will get the opportunity to do some free Christmas shopping for their children as well as fellowship with each other via a lunch party. The event will also feature a game/play area for children known as the “Candy Shop.”

Members of the community are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys this week for the women to “shop” from. Toys are needed for ages 18 and under and can be dropped of at Sports Clips in Denver. Individuals may also use PayPay to donate online at spreading-joy.org.

The holiday toy drive is one of Spreading Joy’s two annual events, including a back-to-school fundraiser that uses community donations to provide hundreds of students with backpacks filled with school supplies.

While founder Marie Wikle currently runs the organization out of her Denver home, she frequently hosts free seminars in local churches and hotels throughout the year and hopes Spreading Joy will one day have enough funding to move to its own facility and host monthly, rather than semi-annual, events.

Wikle founded the nonprofit after deciding to use her creative, gift-giving niche to reach the entire community.

“I’ve always had a dream of having a nonprofit…but wasn’t sure what direction to go,” she told the Times-News. “A lady at my church told me that her mom always showed her the cards and little gift bags I would make for the elderly at church. She said, ‘Thank you for spreading joy to my mom,’ and immediately, my heart knew that what I had always done and wanted to do on a larger scale had a name!”

The organization’s premise is as straightforward as its name.

“Our main goal is to remind others of the simple joy of giving,” Wikle said.

Her desire is for people to stop making excuses for why they can’t give, whether it be an issue of finances or time, and to spread joy as a way of life.

“My motivation is that everyone needs to know that what they have right here, right now is enough,” she said. They are enough.”

On the organization’s website, Wikle notes, “Joy isn’t in things, money or positions. It is in us. And we need to bring it with us and share it.”

She promotes giving joy as the only way to experience true joy.

Since 2008, Spreading Joy has assisted needy residents in a variety of ways, most of which are financial.

“We’ve been able to help people keep their home, their car, get groceries after a fire, get their medicine when they choose to keep their power on and help the elderly with rent as well as heating and cooling needs,” Wikle said. “We don’t just ‘handle’ the problem. We try to help them find a solution.”

She’s also published a book, Spreading Joy Daily, which contains a daily guide of practical tips about how to inspire others to make a difference. Individuals can purchase the book on the nonprofit group’s website or Amazon.com. All proceeds will go to benefit the nonprofit organization.

For more information on “Christmas JOY” and other Spreading Joy events throughout the year, visit spreading-joy.org.

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