Never underestimate the pleasure a simple thing as a nice meal out can do for a family. This is long, so I apologize in advance. But please read it.
A friend of mine nominated my family for a local "adopt a family" thing through a local radio station. Our family was adopted by someone (we won't find out who), and a restaurant wanted to have our large family out to eat, completely paid for. When we arrived, the hostess and all the servers came right to us and did everything in their power to make sure we knew that they wanted us to enjoy ourselves and not worry about a thing while we were there. I was terrified the kids would act up. It was a tad bit loud, but what do you expect with 8 kids? They behaved MUCH better than we anticipated. Manners, no screaming, HAFTY*, etc.
Olive Garden made sure we had a whole section to ourselves so the kids could run around without bothering other people if they felt the need to move around. They made sure we didn't wait long for our food. The kids meals were bigger than they usually were so that we could bring extras home with us. Appetizers, main dishes, and even dessert. It was the best present we have ever received, honestly.
Not only that, but at the end, the two servers we had brought out gifts for the kids. They saw that our wish list for the radio station just had clothes and warm blankets on them, and they wanted to do a little more for us. The baby got 2 teething toys and a Thomas pillow pet. The other younger kids each got a stuffed animal/pillow and blanket combo, and some extras. My oldest daughter received a Bohemian Bracelet making kit and other things, the 9 year old we have custody of got a Hello Kitty diary and some nail polish. They also gave my husband and I a $25 gift card to Walmart, and my cousin also got a $25 gift card to Walmart.
We had a great time, and I almost cried. I wanted to so bad, but I also didn't want to at the same time. It was just great. I wasn't expecting to have such a great time at a restaurant. I didn't have to worry about dishes. No cooking. Nothing. They also let us take the poinsettia home.
My point, if you can afford to take a family who is down on their luck, or struggling with bills, out to eat, please do. Even if it's to IHOP or Denny's. It really eases a LOT of worries when you don't have to worry about a meal or cleaning. I was finally able to kick back and enjoy my family for the first time in a long time. Especially since adding more to it. I truly am blessed, and can't wait to be in the position to be able to do this for another family.
Because I do not have permission from our servers to post their pic on my blog, I did blur their faces.
*HAFTY stands for Hands And Feet To Yourself.