Entrata Fosters Family Connection with local foster parents. After COVID-19 restrictions forced Utah-based tech company Entrata to cancel its training conference in San Diego, it was left on the hook for hundreds of unused hotel rooms and several days of banquet food budget.
Looking to turn this situation into an opportunity to give back to the community, the company has partnered with Utah Foster Care to provide a much needed vacation for local foster families in sunny San Diego. Foster care is near and dear to Entrata, as its CRO, Chris Harrington, grew up in the system and has spent much of his life working to give back and provide opportunities for children just like him.
Chris Harrington’s Foster Care Story
How one caring adult can foster hope…
“In 1978, there was a family of 3; a single mom and two boys ages 8 and 9, living in a small town in northern Arizona. Drug addiction and alcoholism had a grip on the family. The mother did not work and relied on the welfare system and family to care for her boys. Most often, the money received from the government was used to feed her addictions. When you take money from an already tight budget to purchase drugs and alcohol, it makes a horrible situation simply unfathomable.
It was Christmas Eve and except for a couple of boxes of generic macaroni and cheese, the cupboards were empty. The fridge had a block of government cheese and a few cans of beer. There was no tree, no Christmas lights, no stockings hung, no reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, no Christmas ham, no opening of a present before bed. The boys had learned throughout life not to say or ask for anything because it would make their mother feel bad. This would escalate the drinking and depression, often leading to much worse.
With their mother passed out and fast asleep in her bed, the boys went to bed with empty stomachs, empty dreams and an empty reality. The younger brother asked the older brother why Santa Claus wouldn’t visit them. The older brother did his best to comfort the younger brother and they finally fell asleep, huddled together on the floor of their small and cold trailer. On Christmas morning in normal homes, the children are awake first thing, often before the sun rises, to see what magic awaits them under the Christmas tree.
This Christmas morning, when they finally did get up, they walked out of their bedroom and something magical had taken place. In their small living room there was a complete Christmas Tree with lights, decorations, tinsel, tree skirt, and candy canes. There were boxes wrapped with their names on them. There were stockings filled with treats, toothbrushes, combs and socks. They had clothes, shoes, and coats. There were toy machine guns – you know the kind where you keep pulling the trigger to get the machine gun sound. The fridge and cupboards were full of food. There were two bicycles for the boys. Santa had indeed found this small family and had brought hope to a desperate reality.
There was a simple note that read “Merry Christmas! Love, Santa”.
The reason that I know this story so well is that I was that older brother. My younger brother and I had just been reunited with our mother. We had spent the previous two Christmas seasons in the foster care system while our mother was incarcerated and rehabilitated for drug and alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, she was unable to stay sober.
To this day I do not know who was responsible for this amazing gift of hope. It changed my life and has touched me every year as I think back on this Christmas miracle. I would encourage all of us to take time to provide hope to those that are less fortunate.
We all need to remember that the children in these families did not choose this lifestyle. They are where they are because of the poor decisions of adults who are responsible for them. I would encourage you to take some time and find opportunities to provide for these children and families.”
A Company-Wide Challenge
Chris Harrington encourages Entrata staff to give back.
During the holiday season, Chris and his wife Angie sent the above story to Entrata employees, along with an impactful challenge –
“If you choose to donate to Utah Foster Care, please send me a copy of the donation confirmation and Angie and I will match your donation, dollar for dollar, up to a total donation from our family of $10,000.”
Thank you, Harringtons for showing up for Utah’s children and families.
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