Northwest Arkansas kicked off December with a flurry of compassion and kindness.

What is the one thing people want from the place they call home? We often hear the same answer, "a strong sense of community, a place that fosters a sense of belonging."

With that notion in mind, we followed the local headlines and social feeds for the first 18 days of December and what we discovered is a community that would make anyone proud. We were so impressed with what we found that we decided to share the stories with you. Taken together this is a side of our region few, if any, are made privy to. Friends, this is Northwest Arkansas. This is our home and these are our neighbors.

A special thanks to the various local media outlets and individuals who took the time to shine a light on the following 38 stories.

Sunday, Dec. 1

Local Car Enthusiasts Make Hospice Patient's End-of-Life Wish Come True

Circle of Life Hospice and local car enthusiasts teamed up to fulfill one man's lifelong wish. On Dec. 1, a patient who had wished for a ride in a Ferrari or Lamborghini experienced not only rides in each sports car, but speeds up to 185 mph. (original source: KFSM)

Monday, Dec. 2

Special Advocates Help Nearly 1,000 Children in 2019

On Dec. 2, we learned that the hundreds of volunteers at CASA of Northwest Arkansas advocated for 954 abused or neglected children in the court system this year. If you would like to learn about becoming an advocate, click HERE. (original source: KNWA)

Tuesday, Dec. 3

Local Pet Food Pantries Featured by Arkansas Traveler

Did you know two Washington County pantries help people struggling to feed their animals by providing pet food and vouchers? Learn about the Hungry Hearts program and Ranger's Pantry Pet Food Bank in this story that was published on Dec. 3 by the Arkansas Traveler HERE. (original source: UATRAV)

Tuesday, Dec. 3

Tyson Foods Gives $60 million to Fight Hunger

In 2015, Springdale-based Tyson Foods set a goal to invest $50 million for hunger relief by 2020. On Dec. 3, the company announced it exceeded the goal early by giving $60 million to fight hunger in just four years. In conjunction with the goal achievement, Tyson honored the Cup of Love Food Pantry in Eureka Springs and St. Paul's Episcopal Community Meal Program in Fayetteville. (original source: Talk Business)

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Walmart Heritage Group Donates Disney Cruise to Family

On Dec. 4, the Walmart Heritage Group donated a Disney Cruise to a local family whose home suffered tornado damage in October. Santa delivered the good news to the family at the Walmart Museum in Bentonville. (original source: KFTA)

Thursday, Dec. 5

High School Students Host Homeless Vigil

On Dec. 5, Fayetteville High School student council held its 21st annual homeless vigil and raised nearly $10,000 for students and families in need. Each year, students spend the night in cardboard shelters to raise donations and simulate what it's like to be homeless for a night. (original source: Fayetteville Flyer)

Saturday, Dec. 7

Local Church Helps Homeless

On Dec. 7, Church members of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church cooked and served hot meals to those in need at Walker Park in south Fayetteville. (original source: KNWA)

Saturday, Dec. 7

SantaCon Benefits Local Charity

Locals dressed up as Santa and participated in a holiday-themed pub crawl that took over downtown Bentonville on Dec. 7. The event was for a good cause with 100% of the proceeds going to Sharing & Caring in Benton County, which helps local children experience the miracle of Christmas. (original source: KNWA)

Monday, Dec. 9

Choose Love: Caroling Across Bentonville

During the week of Dec. 9, third-grade students from Centerton Gamble Elementary School caroled for seniors at the Bentonville Senior Center and Innisfree Senior Living. (original source: Bentonville Schools)

Monday, Dec. 9

Project Zero Helps Children in Foster Care Find Families

It has been said that there are no unwanted children, just unfound families. On Dec. 9, we learned that Project Zero makes special videos to share stories of children in foster care. In addition, they host matching events, which help people looking to adopt meet children in foster care. The founder dreams of a day when the organization she founded disappears for lack of children waiting for their forever home. (original source: KNWA)

Tuesday, Dec. 10

New Animal Shelter To Serve As Model for Entire Country

On Dec. 10, we shared a big announcement from the Best Friends Animal Society in Northwest Arkansas about a new pet resource center coming to Bentonville. According to Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends, "Make no mistake: This will be the first, but certainly not the last, of a new breed of shelter operation and a model for the entire country. The Best Friends Pet Resource Center will be a community center that provides service and support for pets and their families over the course of their entire lives together, not just after they have run into difficulties or when they need to find a new home. It is being designed from scratch with its new functions and intended outcomes in mind." (original source: Impact NWA)

Tuesday, Dec. 10

$395,000 in Scholarships Awarded to Single Parents

On Dec. 10, the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas (SPSFNWA) shared a few infographics from their 2019 annual report. Among the many achievements this year, SPSFNWA awarded $395,000 in scholarships to low-income single parents pursuing education.

Wednesday, Dec. 11

Eureka Springs Named a Volunteer Community of the Year

On Dec. 11, the Lovely County Citizen featured a story about Eureka Springs being recognized as a Volunteer Community of the Year by the Arkansas Municipal League. The award highlights the outstanding response to community needs completed by ECHO Village and the Mayor's Task Force on Economic Development. The village is composed of 10 small homes that have been built with the support of volunteers and donors to provide affordable housing options for young families, seniors, disabled, homeless and the formerly incarcerated. (original source: Lovely County Citizen)

Wednesday, Dec. 11

Local Foundation Donates Caring Cradle Unit to Hospital

On Dec. 11, the Chandler and Paisley Skies Foundation donated a CuddleCot to the Washington Regional Medical Foundation. A CuddleCot is a bassinet cooling system that allows families who have suffered the loss of a baby to spend more time with their child. The purpose of the Chandler & Paisley Skies Foundation is to purchase caring cradle units for hospitals. These units provide the gift of time to families who are living in the final moments they will ever experience with their children here on Earth. (original source: KFSM)

Thursday, Dec.12

Four Homeless Veterans Honored at Fayetteville Memorial

On Dec. 12, around 200 people gathered to honor four homeless veterans that were laid to rest at Fayetteville National Cemetery. After the search for next of kin proved fruitless in the four cases, the coroner, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and the host of volunteers contacted through Bo's Blessings social network made plans for the memorial. (original source: NWADG)

Thursday, Dec. 12

Local Volunteers Assemble Bikes for Local Children

On Dec. 12, the UAMS REACH team visited Pedal it Forward NWA in Rogers to help assemble bikes for local children. Since 2014, the volunteers at Pedal It Forward NWA have worked to distribute over 1,400 bicycles throughout Northwest Arkansas to veterans, kids and others who can't afford a bike. (original source: Facebook)

Friday, Dec. 13

Fifth Graders Plant 20 Trees at Local Dog Park

On Dec. 13, after visiting with Mayor Orman and other city officials on how to continue making Bentonville a pet-friendly community, 5th graders from the TREC program in Bentonville joined Parks and Recreation staff at the Bentonville Bark Park to plant 20 new trees. We know all dog lovers in Bentonville are thankful for the legacy these students are leaving. (original source: NWADG)

Friday, Dec. 13

Seniors Experience Giving Tree Event

On Dec. 13, the Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center hosted its 13th Annual Senior Giving Tree event. More than 100 seniors came out to open presents, play games and enjoy hot cider. Gifts donated during the event will be distributed to participants in the Washington County Meals on Wheels program, which provides 13,000 meals a month to homebound seniors throughout the county. (original source: KNWA)

Saturday, Dec. 14

Local Man Walks 108 Miles for Children's Literacy

On Dec. 14, Ralph Nesson published a note of gratitude to those who supported his recent Walk for Kids campaign. Over the course of five days, Ralph walked 108 miles and raised almost $10,000 for NWA Books for Kids to support literacy programs in area elementary schools. (original source: Facebook)

Saturday, Dec. 14

Neighbors Rally to Help Springdale Man Purchase New Scooter

When neighbors in Springdale learned Tommy Evans, a former bull rider who was paralyzed after an accident, was struggling to leave the home due to battery issues with his scooter, they took to social media to raise funds to purchase their friend a new ride. Amber Perrodin organized the fundraiser that brought in more than $3,000 in donations — enough to get Evans a brand new scooter. On Dec. 14, the group delivered the new scooter and threw Evans an informal celebration in downtown Springdale. (original source: KNWA)

Saturday, Dec. 14

College Students Clean Up Campsite Damaged in Tornadoes

On Dec. 14, a dozen college students on holiday break from the University of Arkansas Little Rock and Pulaski Technology College helped clean up a campsite in Siloam Springs damaged after tornadoes swept through the area two months ago. (original source: KNWA)

Saturday, Dec. 14

Local Walmart and J.B. Hunt Drivers Participate in Wreaths Across America

On Dec. 14, both Walmart and J.B. Hunt truck drivers nationwide participated in Wreaths Across America helping transport 120,000 wreaths from Harrington, Maine, to cemeteries throughout the country. Locally, Walmart and J.B. Hunt employees were joined by hundreds of volunteers at the Fayetteville National Cemetery to place wreaths on the headstones of veterans. In 2018, more than 1.8 million wreaths were placed on headstones at more than 1,640 participating cemeteries during Wreaths Across America.

Sunday, Dec. 15

Beer & Carols Raises $10,500 for Children's Shelter

On Dec. 15, folks in Bentonville gathered for Beer & Carols and raised $10,500 to support the Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter. Organized by Beer & Hymns, these monthly community sing-a-long events raise donations to support local charities. (original source: Facebook)

Sunday, Dec. 15

Local Group Discussion Event Focuses on Topic of Inclusion

On Dec. 15, ELXR Yoga Lounge in Fayetteville partnered with Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum (a local organization that works to provide educational opportunities and professional support for creative professionals) for their first edition of Conversations for Change. The film screening and group discussion brought community members together to talk about topics the topics of inclusiveness, anti-racist practice, and white privilege. (original source: KNWA)

Monday, Dec. 16

Autism Involves Me Featured on KNWA

On Dec. 16, KNWA aired a segment on how Autism Involves Me helped connect a local mother with the resources and support she needed for her autistic child. The nonprofit provides play therapy classes, sensory sensitive gatherings and various other events to support local families. (original source: KNWA)

Tuesday, Dec. 17

Santa Stops By Mercy Hospital In Rogers To Spread Christmas Cheer

On Dec. 17, Santa and his therapy dog, Mercy, stopped by the pediatrics unit to give children a break from their regular treatments. You can find Mercy and his owner John Kinmonth (aka Santa) volunteering at the hospital five times a week, bringing joy to children year-round. (original source: KFSM)

U of A Institute Receives Grant to Support Local Marshallese

On Dec. 18, the IDEALS Institute at the University of Arkansas announced it had received a two-year grant from the United Way of Northwest Arkansas (UWNWA) totaling $213,000 to support economic mobility for low- and moderate-income Marshallese residents. The grant aims to help local Marshallese with homeownership and home repair, small business development and expansion and post-secondary education and job training. (original source: UARK)

Also, the University of Arkansas published a piece about law students who shared their knowledge about human trafficking with the Marshallese community in Northwest Arkansas and health care providers this semester. The Human Trafficking Clinics, which were delivered via Facebook Live, have been viewed 26,000 times and shared nearly 200 times. (original source: UARK)

Local Group Prepares to Feed Hundreds on Christmas

On Christmas Eve, the Kiwanis Club of Bentonville will give away hundreds of boxes of food to local families in need. The club has been hosting the Food Basket Giveaway since 1955. The group started by giving out 15 boxes. Fast forward 64 years, and now volunteers are giving out 500. (original source: 40/29)

Ozark Regional Transit to Offer Free-Fares

To show appreciation for an extraordinary year of serving Northwest Arkansas, Ozark Regional Transit (ORT) is offering free-fare days for certain days in the upcoming holiday weeks. Bus fare for all Fixed Route Transit buses will be free of charge after Christmas (Dec. 26, 27 and again Dec. 30 & 31) until the end of the year. These are in addition to all Fayetteville routes which are zero-fare year-round. (original source: KNWA)

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Feature Christmas Wish Lists

From now through Jan. 2, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will feature Christmas wish lists submitted by area nonprofits. To find the lists, visit the Our Town section on their website. (original source: NWADG)

Holiday Pop-up Bar Benefits Area Nonprofits

From now until Dec. 31, a local Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail lounge is donating 25% of each night's profits to three organizations: KUAF 91.3, a local public radio station, NWA Equality, a local organization working to achieve full equality while creating an environment that embraces and supports the LGBTQ community of Northwest Arkansas, and Magdalene Serenity House, a healing sanctuary serving women who have experienced trauma, sexual exploitation, addiction, and incarceration. (original source: NWADG)

U of A Students Host Meal Donation Drive

Students with the University of Arkansas Associated Student Government, Volunteer Action Center, and Chartwells hosted a 3-week meal donation drive. The goal was to collect at least 3,000 meals from unused meal swipes, dining dollars, and monetary donations at University dining halls. (original source: UARK)

Eureka Springs Angel Tree Provides Gifts to Students in Need

Eureka Springs students who are members of the National Honor Society and the community have come together to provide 144 students Christmas gifts through an annual Angel Tree initiative. (original source: Lovely County Citizen)

Local Businesses Host Toy Drive for Children's Shelter

Grub's Bar & Grille (Rogers), SubieGurus (Rogers) and Thrive Real Estate (Bentonville) have been collecting toys this month to benefit Northwest Arkansas Children's shelter. (original source: KNWA)

Adventure Subaru's Share the Love Event

Adventure Subaru of Fayetteville is participating in the nationwide Subaru Share the Love Event that runs from now until January 2, 2020. During the campaign, for every new Subaru purchased or leased, Subaru will donate $250 to the buyers' choice of charities. In addition, Adventure Subaru will donate $25 to Apple Seeds Inc. (a local organization focused on inspiring healthy living through garden-based education) and $25 to the Fayetteville Public Library.

Bentonville Christmas Lights Display Raising Money for MS Research

A Bentonville homeowner is currently raising money for multiple sclerosis research via his annual Christmas light display. With a goal of $5,000, donations contributed by the community from now until Dec. 31 will benefit Rampy MS Research Foundation, a local nonprofit working to end multiple sclerosis. (original source: KFSM)

Shop with a Cop Events Provide Christmas Gifts to Families Across the Region

Over 400 students across the region, participated in annual 'Shop With A Cop' events with area police officers in Gravette, Pea Ridge, Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale, and Bentonville. The children were paired up with local police officers and were able to buy toys for themselves and gifts for their families.

P.O. Box Set Up for Girlfriend of Slain Fayetteville Officer to Receive Christmas Card

Lastly, a request. A P.O. box has been set up for the girlfriend of slain Fayetteville Police Officer Stephen Carr. Officer Carr was shot and killed while sitting in his patrol vehicle outside of the police department on Saturday, Dec. 7. We are asking the community to consider sending a Christmas card to his girlfriend Madi to let her know and his family know they are loved and not alone. The P.O. box is below.

Madi Rader
P.O. Box 568
Fayetteville, AR 72701

We hope this post delivered as much joy as it did to us while putting it together. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Northwest Arkansas!

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