Delta News-Citizen

Chandler’s put Christ back in CHRISTmas

Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Jacqueline and Mitchael Chandler of Malden stand in front of more than 6,200 Christmas cards they give out to strangers during the Christmas holiday season. The Chandler’s mission began with 500-cards back in 2009. For the 2017 Christmas holiday season they will give out 6,210 Christmas cards.
Photo by Trina Bell, staff

The Chandlers in Malden, Mo. put Christ in Christmas. This couple’s Christian way of thinking has changed the lives of many by the words of a simple Christmas card.

What started out as an amazing 500 card mission in 2009 has grown into something much larger than either of them ever realized. Jacqueline and Mitchael Chandler of Malden started handing out Christmas cards to random businesses and individuals throughout the area as a way to keep the true meaning of the Christmas holiday season alive.

But over the years, their mission has grown from what once was hundreds, to thousands this year.

The Chandlers began in 2009 with 500 cards to give out. But since news stories have been published, telling the area about the Chandlers and their mission, people began wanting to help them in their mission.

The following is a list which shows how much the mission has grown in each passing year.

2009 – 500 cards

2010 – 550 cards

2011 – 660 cards

2012 – 750 cards

2013 – 1,064 cards

2014 – 1,360 cards

2015 – 2,400 cards

2016 – 4,148 cards

2017 – 6,210 cards

The Chandlers drop off Christmas cards at locations like the post office, who hands some out for the Chandlers.They are also given out at the Malden City Hall, and the Chandler’s deliver to Wal-Mart, who allows them to hand them out, as well as, KFC and McDonalds.

But since expanding over the years, the Chandlers have began reaching out past their hometown of Malden. They also deliver cards to Poplar Bluff and Sikeston. Reaching those who may need a small pick-me-up, in places like the Veterans’ Hospital, as well as, customers at AT&T in Poplar Bluff, the Harry Blackwell dealerships, and many many more.

This year, the Chandlers travelled to Kennett and left cards with Goody’s, CATO’s Fashions and Shoe Sensation, who said they would put a card into each of the customers’ shopping bags for them.

“The lady at Shoe Sensation in Kennett said she would even take some to their other locations and distribute them there as well,” Mrs. Chandler said. “Each year more people seem to want to help now and spread the Christmas love and joy,” she added.

In order for this to be possible, right after Christmas each year, the Chandlers go and purchase as many holiday cards as possible once they are marked down.

According to the Chandlers, the rewards are priceless. They have in return, received several cards and letters from people all over who received one of their cards and wanted to personally thank them and let them know how the personalized card lifted them up in their time of need.

Because of the large number of cards the Chandlers hand out now, some family members have begun to pitch in to help. “My brother, Gregory Williams came in this past July for a reunion and he brought 750 Christmas cards with him for us to sign and hand out,” Mrs. Chandler said. “Our daughters, Teyroko Perkins from Fairview, Ill and Billie Jean Rodgers of Jonesboro, have sent us cards to help as well,” she added.

But it’s not only family pitching in to help. “We received 1,000 cards from Amy and Nate Ketchum from Poplar Bluff,” Mrs. Chandler said. “Amy is the regional manager at the Burger King in Poplar Bluff and she wanted to help in addition to giving out some of our cards in her restaurants,” she added.

Since their mission began, each year the Chandlers have begun to receive a lot more cards in return. “We started doing this so that we might could brighten the holidays for someone who may be down or alone,” said Mrs. Chandler. “And since you never know who that one person may be it’s best to just give as much as possible and hopefully that one card or two or however many, may reach that one person who needs it,” she added.

Mrs. Chandler explained that they are now receiving a lot of thank you’s in the mail now. “We have this huge card from the Burger King crew in Poplar Bluff, as well as many from various people who wanted to say Thank You,” she added.

Mrs. Chandler went to get a handcrafted box one of her daughters had sent for her to now keep her thank you cards in, which was nearly full. “Look at this,” she said, as she pulled out a letter which was sent from: One grateful family who received one of your cards.

“We are really touching people’s lives and that’s what it’s all about,” said Jackie Chandler. “Just a kind Christmas message and a signature from me and my husband. “That’s it,” she added.

After reading several cards and letters mailed to the Chandlers, it was evident, their mission is what the Christmas holiday season is all about. One letter came from a lady who received a card from the Chandlers a few years back, while she was eating at the Dexter McDonalds. She explained how receiving their card at that time changed the future of her and her son’s relationship. She explained how she had just decided to write him off after a family dispute. But after seeing the compassion and love from the Chandlers,she realized how something so small can go so far. She told the Chandlers that because of their Christmas card, she chose to not give up and make an effort to fix things, which she did.

“Last year, we received a Christmas card from a Pastor in Bloomfield which had a $20 bill in it,” Mrs. Chandler said, as she retrieved the card. It was postmarked from Rev. David Wilson, with the Bible Tabernacle in Bloomfield, Mo. “He just wanted to help us with our costs,” she added.

Since their mission is growing, the Chandlers start signing the cards in October now instead of waiting until the Thanksgiving holiday like they have in previous years. “There’s just too many cards to sign for us to wait,” said Jackie. “We want as many people as possible to know there are people out there who care about them even though we may have never met,” she added.

It’s things like this that give us hope. It’s how one act of kindness from a stranger can change the course of someone else’s life. That’s what the spirit of Christmas is all about. It’s about giving and showing love for every human. Because you never know what that person may be going through or how you being nice to them could change their destiny. Merry Christmas!

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