By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been said that some of life’s biggest blessings come through adversity, and the story of “Best Christmas Ever.”

It’s a small group of volunteers that’s trying to bring just that to Minnesota families in need.

Back in 2010, Don Liimatainen was a young entrepreneur with a young family and a future full of hope, until he was hit with some bad news.

“I had ulcerative colitis, and had a few-year battle with that, was having a real hard time,” he said. “Leading up to the Christmas of 2010 was my roughest three weeks.”

And then a caring group of family members intervened.

“I got a knock on the door, and each gift came in,” Liimatainen said. “It was two full bags. I remember putting them around the tree. Each gift was beautifully wrapped. It went from my worst moment ever, to the best.”

Since then, its been his mission to deliver that same type of Christmas joy and wonder to others.

“I read a quote by Mother Theresa: ‘If you can’t feed a hundred families, just feed one,'” Liimatainen said.

Over the last five years, Liimatainen and his small group of volunteers have helped 19 different families to have their best Christmas ever. This year their goal is to help 20 families.

“It’s something unbelievable when you’re able to go through the door, because it’s a complete surprise,” he said. “So when you knock on that door, they don’t know you’re there. Then you’re bringing it in, and you see the kids start jumping around — it gives me goosebumps, just thinking about it.”

Liimatainen and his friends are looking for individuals and businesses who might want to donate to their cause, and are also looking for families who might need their help.

Click here to find out how you can nominate a family in need, or become a volunteer.


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