The National Christ Child Society was founded in 1887 in Washington, D.C. by Mary Virginia Merrick. As a teenager, Miss Mary suffered debilitating injuries from a fall. Despite being confined to her bed or a wheelchair for the rest of her life, Miss Mary sought to serve the poorest in her community. Upon learning of an expectant mother who could not afford to clothe her new baby, Miss Mary set out, with the help of family and friends, sewing baby clothing for those in need. Her ability to work past her physical limitations and her zeal for service inspired others to join her in her mission, thus beginning the Christ Child Society. Her legacy continues in over 40 chapters nationwide dedicated to challenging poverty in their communities, one child at a time.
THE LITTLE RED WAGON
The little red wagon became a symbol of the Christ Child Society as a result of a Christmas wish. After a serious fall that caused Mary Virginia Merrick, founder of the Christ Child Society, to become an invalid and unable to walk, her father arranged for a little boy named Paul to run errands for her.
Before Christmas, 1884, when Miss Merrick was nearly 18, she asked, "Paul, what are you going to get for Christmas this year?" What Paul really wanted was a little red wagon, but he answered that there would be no Christmas that year because his father was out of work. Miss Merrick said, "Why don't you write to the Christ Child and ask Him?" Paul asked, "Who is He?" And she replied, "The giver of gifts." When the red wagon and other gifts were given to the children on Christmas Day, they were marked simply, "From the Christ Child". This was the beginning of Christmas giving for what was soon to become the Christ Child Society.