by Jim Barber
The 6th Annual Branson Christmas Show for Foster Families will take place on Monday, December 9th, 6:30pm at the Branson Famous Theatre, home of the Baldknobbers.
Since 2014, Melonie Brown, along with her talented family and friends, have presented this free Christmas show to Foster and Adoptive families of Stone and Taney County as a way to thank them for all they do for kids in need.
This year’s production features world renowned gospel singer Gloria Elliot, Harmony Trio, Tessa Bratz from Sunshine Dance Studio, and special guest, comedian ventriloquist Jim Barber. Audience members may also expect some other surprise guests, including Santa Claus who will be available for pictures with anyone who’s been naughty or nice!
“This show provides a time of entertainment and gifts for the families who care for hundreds of children everyday,” says Brown. “Over the past six years, we have served the foster and adoptive families of Stone and Taney County with a time of fun, music, and loads of love… all free of charge for all foster families.”
Free to foster and adoptive families, the Christmas Show is also open to the general public for a $15 donation at the door. Kids 13 and younger are free. “All donations go to help make this event possible,” says Brown. “Even if you don’t have foster kids, come witness an entertaining time of gift giving, singing and music!”, she adds.
The gifting has grown to the point that Brown recently established a non-profit organization, Joyful Heart Music Foundation to help raise funds for the gifting. Joyful Heart, a 501(c)(3), will continue to raise support and awareness of the great need for foster families.
Having fostered over 29 children in Stone and Taney counties, along with raising 8 of her own, Brown says, “I strongly believe that we need to show appreciation to families willing to take on the responsibility of raising children that aren’t their own, as well a encourage those families that have taken the responsibility to add to their families through adoption! It’s tough keeping up with your own children and the needs and responsibilities of foster kids. Multiple trips to doctors and other appointments add to their already busy schedules, and the financial demands on the families can leave them with little funds for fun! Dollars are usually stretched so far that most can’t afford extra splurges, like a Branson music show. We’re holding this free program to treat foster and adoptive families to a great time and some extra Christmas gifts!”
Brown says this is her way to say thank you to foster parents. “Thank you for caring for these children who aren’t related to you, who have far more needs than usual. These kids disrupt your daily life, yet you share the struggles and successes with them”, she says.
Some local business leaders are supporting this effort by donating gifts, money and even time. “I want to say a special thanks to all the sponsors who make this possible,” says Brown. “We’re getting help from the Mabe family at the Baldknobbers Theater, the Imax Entertainment Complex along with three of their businesses including Shadow Box Gifts, Legends And Legacy Gifts and musician James Garrett. We’re also getting help from the Fogle Family Foundation, Branson Dental Center, the Branson Craft Mall and more! These sponsors make it possible for us to treat foster families to this special event!”