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Nonprofit helps Minnesota family reeling from unimaginable loss have “Best Christmas Ever”

<i>WCCO</i><br/>Will is 9
WCCO
Will is 9

By SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD

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    CARVER, Minnesota (WCCO) — A Carver family you may recognize is enjoying a little Christmas magic after a brutal few weeks.

We first introduced you to the Block family back in June. Mother and wife Lindsay was fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer.

To help her family savor their summer, two strangers gifted them a $27,000 boat.

Lindsay passed away last month. WCCO checked in with the family, and while the crew was at their home in Carver, something special happened.

Joe Block says he still talks to his wife all the time.

“I’m always amazed by Linz, and you know, I love her as much today as when I met her and when she passed,” Joe said. “That stuff doesn’t go away just because someone passes away.”

Will is 9, Andrew is 7 and Olivia is 3. He says the kids have been understandably clingy, holding on tighter. There are the emotional needs.

“They’ll say they’re OK or they’re not thinking about much … but I see it in the way they behave,” Joe said.

And then there are the logistical needs, as Christmas is coming and there are some costly requests.

“I really wanted to see a (Vikings) game this year,” Will said.

Olivia knows what she wants, too.

“Minnie Mouse or ‘Cocomelon,'” Joe said.

Joe says his to-do list is mounting.

“Hoping to go Christmas shopping. So last week I realized that it was a couple weeks till Christmas, I have gone for maybe one day, a couple of hours, because I started out shopping and then Lindsay always went, so I just walked around for a while,” he said.

Joe says it was just too hard, so he had to stop. Little did he know, thanks to strangers, a small part of his life was about to get easier.

As WCCO was there, the doorbell rang. Dozens of Santa-hatted family, friends and strangers were at the door. Joe answered the door in shock.

Dozens poured in with dozens of gifts. Joe watched in awe.

“I guess this will solve my shopping problem,” Joe said.

Frank Cannata, a stranger, adopted the family through the nonprofit Best Christmas Ever. Several of Lindsay’s close friends nominated them.

“We wanted to show you that there’s people out there that care about you even though you don’t even know us,” Cannata said. “With our partner Master Electronics and our community, we are here to give you the ‘Best Christmas Ever.'”

Starting with a gift for Will, he opened an autographed ball from Justin Jefferson and shrieked. And then he opened the big gift: tickets for him, his brother and dad to go to the Packers game.

Andrew got gifts, too, and so did Olivia. And then, the finale.

“We would like to present you with a check for $10,000,” Cannata said.

Joe marveled at the generosity.

“Thank you everybody, love it, appreciate it,” Joe said. “I don’t know whether to smile, laugh or cry at the same time, but really special. Thank you.”

And just like that, amidst circumstances they never wanted, they got just what they needed.

The family also got a free fishing trip at a northern Minnesota cabin.

Their plan for Christmas Day is to keep the tradition Lindsay started: the four of them will open presents, and then make pancakes.

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