Spearfish mother gives back to her community in honor of her child lost to tragedy
Phibie's Christmas Gift – given in the name of a Beautiful little red headed Angel
SPEARFISH S.D. – On a Saturday morning in the spring of 2017, five children lost their lives in a tragic house fire. For one of the victims of the fire, 6-year-old Phibie Joyce, her mother chose to carry on her precious daughter’s legacy with a GoFundMe campaign raising money to sponsor families in need on Phibie’s favorite holiday, Christmas.
“I don’t think there is a single thing that Phibie didn’t love about Christmas, except for when it was over.” said Phibie’s mother, Shannon Huggett. “Phibie’s favorite part of Christmas, though, was the meaning of Christmas and the reason behind why we celebrate, the 25th of December, the day Christ, our King, was born.”
For the past two Christmas’s, Huggett’s family has accepted nominations and chosen one family to sponsor for Phibie’s Christmas Gift. In the past, they have purchased 2-5 gifts for the sponsored family: clothes, shoes, coats, stockings, and stocking-stuffers for each family as well as either buying all of their food to make a Christmas dinner, or giving them a gift card to a grocery store of their choice.
“I decided to do Phibie’s Christmas Gift in the fall of 2017,” said Huggett. “I originally had the idea of everyone in my family choosing a name off the Angel Tree. However, one morning I was sitting there thinking about my Little Miss, as I do every morning. Out of nowhere, the idea to sponsor a family in need popped in to my head. I knew instantly, that’s exactly what we were going to do.”
According to Huggett, she knows the feeling parents get around the holidays when they don’t know how they are going to make Christmas “happen” for their family financially.
“Whether a family is going through hard times, down on their luck or just starting to rebuild, no one should hurt on Christmas,” explained Huggett.
The reason she gives to the community on the Christmas is to have others think of Phibie with joy in their hearts, instead of the tragedy that took her life. Huggett explained that she wants everyone to remember the beautiful little red headed Angel, who had so much love for mankind, that it continued to be shared with others after her passing.
“The day after my baby girl died, I made her a promise. I promised that I would keep her legacy alive until my final breath on earth is taken,” said Huggett. “Phibie’s Christmas Gift is one way I am able to keep that promise to her.”
Huggett also wants to encourage parents to stop and take a look at what they truly have in front of them. She said she was one of those parents who hears about people losing their children, but she never thought it would happen to her. She wants parents to remember how lucky they are when they are tucking their child in on Christmas Eve, she wishes she could tuck her Phibie in again.
“Phibie was such a kind-hearted little girl,” started Huggett. “She loved everyone and anyone she came into contact with. She was always so happy, even when she was sick or mad. Phibie was definitely a little helper and no matter what the task, she was always all hands on deck. Anytime she had the opportunity to have her picture taken, she would take full advantage of it […]. You could always guarantee that no matter what, she was going to have a bad hair day, even when we spent 2 hours curling her hair for kindergarten pictures. You couldn’t even tell that we spent all that time and effort on her hair or that she had about a pound of hairspray in.”
She also described Phibie as being a very outgoing little girl who marched to the beat of her own drum. She said she was such a free and happy soul who was always coming up with new things to do. Her brother Noah was her hero, and her best friend; she also loved getting him in trouble.
“Phibie taught me so much about love and compassion for others, that no matter where you are at in you life, if you are in the position to give to others, great or small, you should,” said Huggett. “Phibie’s Christmas Gift does just that. It allows a family, or two, the ability to take that sigh of relief, knowing that their family will have a good Christmas.”
This year Huggett would like to raise enough funds to sponsor two or more families. She raised nearly $700 in the first three days of posting her campaign. If you would like to contribute to Phibie’s Christmas Gift click HERE