A season of love and compassion


RHONDA BUSH receives boxes of Christmas food and gifts from Captains John and Pam Brackenbury in Anchorage, Alaska.


The Salvation Army Adopt-A-Family program will make a difference in the lives of more than 100 Anchorage area families this year, all of whom have special needs. Eric and Rhonda Bush–and their four children–are one of those families…

Last Christmas, Eric and Rhonda were excited about the new little bundle that would soon join their family of five. On May 1, Caryn was born and their world changed overnight. Caryn was born with spinal bifida and encephalitis. The family immediately began to deal with the emotional and financial challenges of providing for her daily needs. Their lives now revolve around a busy schedule of doctor’s visits and therapy appointments. Many times Eric and Rhonda find they need to schedule in time with their three active sons.

Faced with these challenges daily, the Bushes remain upbeat about their situation and draw on their strong faith. Rhonda affectionately refers to Caryn as their “little angel sent by God.” Caryn’s brothers, Chris, Cody and Collin, adore their sister and help with her daily care. Eric’s employer is generous in giving him time off when needed. The family also counts on the support of their church family and other organizations to help them cope with the extra responsibility of caring for a handicapped child.

This Christmas, Eric and Rhonda weren’t sure how to explain to their children that there would be no presents under the tree. But thanks to many generous sponsors participating in The Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family Pro-gram, the Bushes and other Anchorage area families with special needs, will be “adopted” this holiday season. In addition to purchasing new toys and clothing for family members, sponsors will provide food for the family’s Christmas meal.

For Captains John and Pam Brackenbury, coordinators of the Adopt-A-Family program, this reinforces the important role The Salvation Army plays in demonstrating Christ’s love in a practical way. “So many times we get caught up in the paperwork of Christmas. This was an opportunity for us to see firsthand the joy that this season can bring through the eyes of a child.”

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