SPRINGVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — A local non-profit is expanding its reach to provide more children with safe and loving homes just in time for Christmas.

Big Oak Ranch says their homes come equipped with love and hope, bringing a whole new meaning to being home for the holidays. For nearly five decades, those with the organization have opened their arms to children who have been abandoned, neglected and abused

“We have kids that have lived in cardboard boxes,” said Brodie Croyle, President & CEO of Big Oak Ranch Inc. “We have kids that were left at our doorsteps by a mom because she didn’t fit the new life that she was going to live. We have kids that, you know, grandparents couldn’t take care of them anymore. We have children that have lost their parents.”

Of the nearly 2,000 children they’ve cared for, they say the majority never experienced a true Christmas before their arrival.

“And then they come to Big Oak and they’re loved lavishly,” said Kelli Croyle who serves as the Ascend Director for Big Oak College Ministry. “And they ask questions like, ‘Are these for me?’ and to look back at a child- our house parents get to experience that- look them in the eye and say, ‘These are for you,’ like, ‘You matter.’”

House parent Suzanne Miller says she’s grateful to help provide a safe and loving home for these vulnerable children, especially during the holidays.

“It’s really given us an opportunity to talk about what is home,” Miller said. “Home is where your family is. And this building is fabulous, your room is fabulous, where we are, our location is amazing, but it’s your family who’s here for you day in and day out.”

Brodie Croyle says because of their house parents’ care, these children get to seek what they are in need of most — love and opportunity.

“They become mom and dad to 6-8 boys or here at the girls’ ranch, 6-8 girls that don’t share their name, don’t share their blood, maybe don’t share their skin color, but, you know what, they choose to love them unconditionally,” Croyle said.

They say their overall hope for the children who walk through their doors is that they know they are loved, and this is their home.