The Joyful Heart Music Foundation is hosting their 7th Annual Branson Family Gifting Show on Monday, December 14, at the Branson Famous Baldknobbers Theatre at 7 p.m.
The annual show was created as an evening to benefit foster and adoptive families in Stone and Taney counties. Joyful Heart Music Foundation Founder Melonie Barber said up until a few weeks ago, she wasn’t sure if this year’s show was going to happen.
“It’s been a very last minute, just five weeks of preparation for the show,” said Barber. “With COVID I wasn’t sure how folks would turnout and how folks would respond. Brandon Mabe (with Branson Famous Baldknobbers) messaged me and said, ‘Hey, are you still doing the Christmas show?’ I went, ‘If you’ve got a spot.’ Sure enough he had a spot at Monday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.”
Barber said with everything everyone has gone through this year, she hopes the show will help to bring a little cheer.
“Joyful Heart is Joyful Heart for a reason. Part of it is my middle name is Joy and the other part of it is I just feel like we just need to help everybody focus on some gratitude and being thankful this year and being positive,” Barber said. “Right now I’ve got like 29 families that have said, ‘Yes, we would like to participate and we’d like to come.’”
For the 2020 show, Barber said the entertainment line-up will feature Harmony Trip, Ventriloquist Jim Barber, Peggy Lee Brennan and Geoff Hastings Haberer with From Broadway to Branson and some very special guest performers.
“This year instead of involving foster children, which I love doing, but being cautious and doing all the protocols we chose not to do that,” said Barber. “Instead Staccato Show Choir from the Branson Regional Arts Council will perform a number for the families that come. After, of course, Santa will be there and there will be gifts.”
The gifts presented to the foster and adoptive families to the show will include items such as toys, baby diapers, gift cards, Bibles, games, small tools, gloves and blankets, which have all be donated to the Joyful Heart Music Foundation.
“Its been amazing to me how that people have responded, because I didn’t do any fundraising, because I didn’t think it was going to get to happen. So all of the sudden, gifts are coming left and right. So I’m like, we’ll give what we have, but the greatest gift we give is the gift of love.”
While the deadline to drop-off donations at Branson area businesses has passed, Barber said she would still welcome any donations.
“If anybody sees this and it pulls on their heart and they’re like, ‘We can do a little bit extra this year.’ They can contact me Melonie Barber at 417-527-6598,” said Barber. “We will take gifts after this. I had a family contact me a while ago and say, ‘Hey we’re down with COVID. We can’t come Monday. Our quarantine won’t be up till the 15th.’ I’m thinking we already have gifts for that family, so maybe afterwards, somehow I can meet up with them and give them those gifts. I don’t mind blessing the community in any way I can.”
Barber shared that at the show it’s important to them that they recognize and honor both the foster families as well as the adoptive families.
“Once a family has fostered and then they’ve adopted a child, they drop off of the registry,” said Barber. “They’re like, they’re yours now and we’ve got to go on to the next child that comes in. This year looking at our list of attendees, it looks like I have seven or eight families that have adopted since last year, which means they’ve given those children a forever home and that is really exciting to me. It’s really hard not to have the stability of a forever family. I know that first hand, because I have three adoptive children that are adopted out of foster care. They are a sibling group.”
Foster and adoptive families are admitted into the show free of charge. Invitations have also been extended to The Caring People and Options Pregnancy Clinic. Barber asks that those families who have plans to attend register in advance by calling her at 417-527-6598.
“This year we’re doing assigned seating. In fact I spent most of my evening last night assigning seats to people, because we want to make sure everyone is safe. We want to make sure they’re safe. Normally it’s just free seating,” said Barber. “The Branson Famous Theatre seats like 900 and right now we have about 150 coming, so I can space those people out and keep them a safe distance. Of course masks are required to wear. We’re just doing our part to bring a little joy this year in a year that’s really been an uncertain year for sure.”
The show is also open to the general public. Admission into the show is a $15 donation at the door.
“We ask for a $15 donation. We’re not going to turn somebody away if they come and they don’t have $15,” Barber said. “It just goes to Joyful Heart and just helps us continue to do what we do.”
Anyone wishing to make a financial donation to the Joyful Heart Music Foundation can send a check to PO Box 1911, Branson, Missouri 65616. The foundation is a registered 501c3 and monetary gifts are tax deductible.
For additional information or to RSVP to the show call Barber at 417-527-6598.