How would you complete this sentence: All I want for Christmas is _________.
For one family in Franklin, that answer is Christmas cards. So they’ve issued a special holiday challenge to turn a kind gesture from others into a little community service of their own.
Singing cards, family photos, homemade Christmas cards, cards from dozens of different states, and cards from around the world, such as South Korea and New Zealand – no matter the card, Joshua Keller has them all.
“We were actually shocked that we got so many cards, especially around the globe and outside the United States,” said Jay Keller, Josh’s dad.
This is the second year Joshua’s parents have done the “Joshua Says Hello Christmas Card Challenge.”
Last year, it started out as just something between family and friends, but it quickly grew into much more, with cards coming in from all over the map.
Jay Keller said the whole idea started when Josh received mail from cousins at a military base. He was so excited that his parents decided to do something a little different and issue a challenge to others. So they asked for anyone willing, to send Josh Christmas cards.
They received about 250 cards last year and were surprised by the support they got. So they decided to it again a second year. But it’s not just about cards for Josh. One good turn deserves another and so the family is making sure they give back.
“For every card that we receive, up to 500 bucks, we’ll donate a dollar and that dollar seems to go pretty far,” Jay Keller said.
One card equals one dollar, with all the money going to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to buy toys and supplies for kids in need.
Last year, the Keller family ended up buying about $600 of blankets, stuffed animals, and other supplies for the Franklin County Ambulance District. The family wants kids who have experienced a traumatic situation to have something to help them. That comes from personal inspiration from Josh.
As a kid, Josh spent a lot of time in the hospital and people were good to him. So now his family said it’s time to pay that forward to other kids.
“We’re taking this out of our own pocket and donating it for his pleasure,” Jay Keller said. “So if we can get some Christmas cards out of it and spread a little joy, it’s a bonus.”
Josh’s parents said seeing the response last year, and already so far this year, is phenomenal.
“It’s truly humbling because something so little, so simple, brings him so much joy,” said Kathy Keller, Josh’s mom.
Josh also got to help pick out some of the toys that his Christmas cards helped earn last year. His parents said it just made his Christmas.
“It was wonderful,” said Kathy Keller. “It was a delight every single day he received cards. And it truly set a great spirit, a great mood for the season because it’s the kindness, it’s the love, it’s genuine.”
And for Josh, the cards are more than just cards. They are new friends from all over the world.
The family said they are already getting a few for this season and they look forward to seeing how many more they get – and where they come from.
If you would like to send Josh a letter and help earn a dollar for the sheriff’s office, you can mail the card or letter to the address below:
Joshua Says Hello
P.O. Box 122
Franklin, Idaho 83237
All you need to do is fill it out and drop it in the mail to the address above. Kathy Keller says they hang up every single card and letter they get around the home for Josh to see.
To learn more about Joshua Says Hello, you can look at Josh’s Facebook page.