Now officially an annual happening, Mitchell’s Miracle Day is back for a second year and Calgary Stampeders quarterback and CFL Most Outstanding Player Bo Levi Mitchell wants the holiday-time event to be bigger and better.
More advance planning will help in that regard as the 2015 debut was very much a spur-of-the-moment thing.
“Last year,” admits Mitchell, “we thought of it and kicked it off three days later.”
The concept remains the same as Mitchell and his wife Madison will take four children (last year they took two) from Big Brothers Big Sisters on a shopping spree this Saturday to purchase presents for family members. The Mitchells pay for the presents out of their own pockets.
“These are families who otherwise wouldn’t be having a Christmas,” explains Mitchell. “Or not a plentiful one, I guess you could say.
“We’re trying to teach them how to give and the great feeling that it is to watch your family open presents they weren’t expecting to get.”
After the shopping is over, the Mitchells and the youngsters hang out for a while. A year ago, the group went bowling. Then they retreat to a party room where there’s gifts for the kids as well as gift certificates donated by local individuals and businesses for the family to use throughout the holidays.
“The gift cards can be for restaurants, movie theatres or any kind of entertainment,” says Mitchell. “It’s not just the 17th that’s a miracle for them, it’s the entire holiday season. The kids can enjoy dinner or movie out with their family.”
“That’s one of the really cool parts,” says Mitchell. “Sometimes they think it’s an assistant or someone else handling the donations but it’s Madi and I. We’ll personally come and pick up the gift cards and thank people and spread some of the Christmas cheer.”
The couple tries to carefully schedule the pickups but the volume of donations leads to plenty of time on the road.
“There’s a couple of days of driving,” says Mitchell, “but it’s well worth it.”
After the success of last year’s event, there was no doubt in the Mitchells’ minds they were doing it again in 2016, even if Madison is expecting the couple’s first child in late February.
Mitchell vividly remembers meeting the children’s families.
“The mothers were crying and came gave us hugs,” remembers Mitchell. “That was really special. To understand how much it means to the entire family.”
The Mitchells have even recruited Georgia and Esteban, who were the beneficiaries of last year’s Miracle, to potentially help them in Year 2.
“It’s a full-circle thing,” says Mitchell. “This way, it’s not a one-day thing. It will be good to catch up with them again.”
Mitchell, who has received the Stamps’ Herm Harrision Memorial Award for community service in each of the past two years, is proud to once again team up with Calgarians at this special time of the year.
“The response has been amazing,” says Mitchell. “Anything helps and we can make it a better Christmas for everyone in Calgary.”