Jane Hobbs has deeply personal reasons for reaching out to people with disabilities because of her daughter, Carol. As Carol was growing up, Jane began to realize that she would have limited options for work and participation in society after she finished school due to her disabilities. And the opportunities that Jane knew of would be very costly for their family. Determined to find better solutions for Carol and help other families in similar circumstances, Jane founded Able R Us, an organization that supports and advocates for people with disabilities.
During the holiday season, Jane hosts an annual Christmas party for hundreds of people with disabilities in her community. Jane said her goal for the Able R Us Christmas party is, “to make everyone feel just as special as they truly are.” Many of the people that Able R Us serves do not have many chances to celebrate the season, and many of them may face hunger, so they look forward to the event for months. Each year at the Christmas party, people approach Jane and eagerly ask, “When is the next party?” She makes the gathering special every year, but this year there will be an extra surprise for everyone who attends.
Thanks to Virginia Peninsula Foodbank and other caring supporters, this year’s celebration will include a delicious holiday feast for all 450 guests, including meat trays, vegetable trays, finger sandwiches and more. Each guest will also receive a special gift that Jane has wanted to give them for a very long time.
“For the past several years, I have wanted to give jackets to the people we serve,” said Jane. “But it just hasn’t been possible.” Thankfully, this year Jane received a generous donation that allowed her to purchase jackets for everyone who attends the party.
“So many of the people we help do not have a nice, lightweight jacket—and I can finally help with that,” said Jane. “Dreams do come true – they really do. If you dream hard enough, something special comes true.”
December is a big month for Jane—and not just because of the Christmas party. On December 29th, she plans to retire from her day job, which is separate from her work at Able R Us. When asked about her future with Able R Us, Jane said, “I will never retire. I will keep planning parties and I will keep lobbying. My goal is to educate family members of people with disabilities. We must come together as a group and fight for our loved ones.”
A good meal, holiday cheer and warmth are things we should all have this special time of the year. You can get involved and we can help you get started – check out 7 ways you can give back this season.