Christmas is a festive time, especially for children. Families gather to celebrate the holidays with delicious meals and wrapped gifts. But for children whose families have no home of their own, Christmas can be a sad time.
圣诞节是个欢快的时光,对孩子们来说尤其如此。家人团聚在一起,互赠礼物、分享美食。但是,对无家可归的孩子来说,圣诞节可能是一个悲伤的日子。

To put a smile on homeless children's faces at this time of year, one man in New Orleans, Louisiana, organizes a Christmas party for what he calls the "Forgotten Angels."
为了让这些孩子在节日里能露出笑容,一个新奥尔良的男子为那些他称之为“被遗忘的天使”们组织了一个圣诞派对。

Getting started

When Clarence Adams applied to be a counselor at a New Orleans homeless shelter 16 years ago, he knew very little about homelessness.
16年前,当克莱伦斯·亚当斯在新奥尔良无家可归者庇护中心申请一个顾问职位时,他对无家可归几乎没有任何概念。

"After the interview, they gave me a tour in the building and it was lunch time," Adams says. "And I saw children there. That really bothered me. I just never thought about a child being homeless."
他说:“面试后,他们领我在庇护中心里参观了一圈,那时正好是午饭时间。我看到那些孩子,觉得非常难过。我从来没想过,一个孩子也会无家可归。”

Adams got the job and took it upon himself to help the kids coming to the shelter in any way he could. He went with their parents to register them for school and organized donation drives for school supplies. One day as the holidays neared, he talked to a friend about what it might be like for homeless children to celebrate Christmas.
亚当斯得到了那份工作,他开始把帮助无家可归的孩子们当作自己的责任。他和孩子家长一起去学校注册,组织为孩子们捐献学习用品的慈善活动。一年的圣诞节前,他和一个朋友谈论无家可归的孩子们是如何过圣诞节的。

"Basically the only thing that these kids had to look forward to was having their Christmas dinner in the shelter with hundreds of people who they didn't know," he says. "I mentioned to my friend that if I ever got rich, I would just have a big party for homeless children. She said, 'Well, let's do it.'"
亚当斯说:“基本上,这些孩子只能在庇护所里和数百个他们不认识的人一起吃顿圣诞晚餐。我说,如果我有钱了,我就为无家可归的孩子们举办一个盛大的派对。我的朋友说,好啊,就这么干。”

That's how the Christmas for Forgotten Angels party started 12 years ago.
于是12年前,“被遗忘的天使们的圣诞节”活动就这样开始了。

Christmas for Forgotten Angels

"The first year we had approximately 50 children. And I had my food service manager from the shelter cook the meal," Adams says. "We had fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. We had some desserts and we were able to give all the kids toys and we had Santa Claus."
亚当斯说:“第一年有大概50个孩子参加。我让庇护所的食品服务部主任准备饭菜。我们准备了炸鸡、意大利通心粉和奶酪,还有甜点。我们给每个孩子准备了玩具,我们还请来了圣诞老人。”

But organizing that party all alone, he says, was overwhelming.
但是,亚当斯回忆说,准备这么大的派对非常辛苦。

"I swore I would not do that again because it was too much work," he says. "But at the party, seeing the faces on these kids, having them come up and give me a hug and say, 'Thank you,' to see how much joy this brought to these children who would otherwise have nothing. I determined at the end I had to do this every year."
“我发誓再也不干了,因为事情太多了。但是在派对上,我看到孩子们的笑脸,他们走过来拥抱我,感谢我,看到这个派对为这些原本什么都没有的孩子们带来了那么多的快乐,我最后决定我必须每年都这么做。”

Reports about his Christmas party now appear in local newspapers every year. That's resulted in having dozens of volunteers contact Adams to donate their time as well as clothing, toys and food. This year, however, a weak economy has impacted the party.
当地报纸每年都会报导亚当斯组织的圣诞派对,几十名志愿者和他联系,愿意捐献自己的时间、衣服、玩具以及食物。

"I do see the donations this year down somewhat from last year but people are still very generous," Adams says. "We had a group of volunteers that came for like three years in a row from Georgia. I know that last year, we got checks from four different states. I had a family that brought some toys last week. Their 7-year-old son had a $20 bill that he had saved up money from his allowance all year so he could help."
亚当斯说:“和去年相比,人们今年捐献的东西少了一些,但他们仍然非常慷慨。有几个乔治亚州的志愿者连续3年来帮忙。去年,我们收到来自4个州的捐赠支票。上星期,有一个家庭送来了一些玩具,他们家7岁的儿子捐了20块钱,那是他一年来从他的零花钱里省下来的。”

Helping out

Volunteers who can't afford to donate money come and help wrap the gifts and prepare for the party. Tiffani Hicks, a 29-year-old single mother, helped out for the first time this year.
那些不能捐钱的志愿者来帮助包装礼品,准备派对活动。蒂芬尼·希克斯是位29岁的单亲妈妈。

"It's a very family atmosphere," she says. "We have other volunteers that are helping. We're all sitting around, talking. It's a very warm, loving atmosphere."
她说:“这里充满家庭气氛,有很多志愿者来帮忙。大家坐在一起,说话,做事,气氛非常温馨融洽。”

Doing something to make homeless children happy is important to Hicks. She says she knows exactly how they feel at Christmastime, because she was homeless as a child herself.
对希克斯来说,为了让无家可归的孩子们快乐而尽一份力,非常重要。她说,自己非常了解孩子们在圣诞节期间的感受,因为她小时候就是一个无家可归的孩子。

"I felt like I wasn't loved. I felt like I didn't deserve it," Hicks says. "I just felt like nobody cared about me. My Mom died when I was five years old and my aunt, she took care of us. She did what she could do for us. So we never really had a Christmas or whatever like that. It just makes you feel awful. Then after the holidays you have to go back to school and everyone is talking about what they got for Christmas, so you're kind of making up things that you wish you would have gotten, so you can fit in."
她说:“我觉得自己是一个没人爱的孩子,没人在乎我。我5岁的时候妈妈去世了,姨妈照顾我们。她尽她的所能照顾我们,但是我们从来没有真正过过一个圣诞节,这让人感觉很糟。过完节回到学校,同学们都在谈论自己得到了什么圣诞礼物,而我们只能拿我们希望得到的礼物来说事儿,这样才能显得和大家一样。”

With dozens of volunteers like Tiffani Hicks, Clarence Adams says they were able to serve more than 200 homeless kids this year. The Christmas for Forgotten Angels organizer says he'd like to see his community's support and commitment to making homeless children feel special continue all year round and not just during the holidays.
亚当斯说,多亏有几十名象希克斯这样的志愿者帮助,他们今年能为200多个无家可归的孩子们举行圣诞派对。亚当斯希望来自社区的支持和奉献能够让无家可归的孩子们不仅仅是在节日期间、而是在一年中一直感到有人在关爱他们。