Metro Atlanta organization helping make holidays special for children dealing with loss of parents

This time of year there's always a rush to get everything and everyone checked off the Christmas list. One organization has made it their mission to check off those lists for children who are experiencing some of the most difficult losses.

The Joy Mission is helping get everything on the list for children who lost one or both of their parents.

The holidays can be one of the most beautiful times of the year, and also one of the most difficult, especially for families experiencing loss.

"The holidays, they're hard. Whether it's fresh you just lost a parent or loved one, or it's been 10 years, 20 years," Natalie Sorrells said. Sorrells is familiar with that pain. She lost her sister in a drunk driving accident six years ago. Her sister left behind a daughter who was only 2 years old at the time. Her loss is what sparked the Joy Mission.

"Through my grief, my healing process was centered in a lot of ways around joy. So I thought what better way than to lean into people who are grieving, very specifically like Mia, who have lost their parents, just to create these moments of joy," Sorrells told Good Day's Lindsay Tuman.

Year-round, the organization tries to find ways to create joy for children who are experiencing similar losses. Those have included art auctions or paying for dance lessons and piano lessons.

"Just things that might have brought them joy before they lost a parent, and can bring them joy now after they've lost a parent," Sorrells said.

This time of year, it's also about finding that joy for the kids, while helping the surviving parent or caregiver, by taking care of the Christmas lists. That's their plan for Lindsey Banos' family this year.

"My husband's cousin passed away in a house fire, four kids were in the house, and they made it out, and her husband passed away from COVID a week later," Banos said.

She and her husband took in their four kids, creating a family of 10.

"Sometimes I tell these kids just waking up every day is a win. Just doing your best at school, studying, and hanging out with your friends, that's a win." she said.

They learned about the Joy Mission through a school guidance counselor. Banos said it's been a huge help for the holidays and beyond.

"Tragedies can make you see the best in humanity sometimes. And what people really are capable of when they have nothing to gain from it," she said.

Sorrells says their mission is never really complete. Even after finding a way to give kids some joy, they want to connect families with each other and create a long-lasting community.

"This is also a program where sometimes may hit home for some of these kids a few years after the fact, that there are still people out there wanting to help," Sorrells said.

If you want to help with the Joy Mission, they are looking for help getting all the items for the 10 kids on their list this year. A link to their website can be found here. To help fulfill Christmas lists for the Joy Mission families, click here