Monday, November 28, 2011

Charity begins at home

This time of year makes me remember.Sometimes people, places, what happened...stuff like that.

Today I remembered something else.
There were times when things weren't so great this was back about 14+ years ago; the boy was a little over 3 years old. The boy and I were going to play groups at a local shelter and I was building my life back. I didn't have a job yet....connections I had, but a job hadn't come calling at this point.
It was the holidays, and I didn't  have money for Christmas presents. I was trying to pay off bills as much as I could I was flat busted broke. Fortunately, my parents knew I was broke and didn't expect much of anything....and you know....something happened.

I was at the shelter one afternoon. I generally didn't like going later in the afternoon alone-the neighborhood was rather creepy and the parking garage scared me a little bit (dark, eerie corners and a vivid imagination). This particular afternoon, while running errands, my Dad agreed to wait for me in the car. I had stopped in briefly to pick up some papers and get some play group information. One of the counselors stopped me and asked me to step into a room. Generally these rooms weren't terribly comfortable- they smelled bad (incense, or air freshener. maybe a combination of both). I waited thinking to myself, "Oh Great, now something ELSE is going to go wrong."....and she walked in with 2 bags of toys for a little boy. There were trucks, a stocking with little cars, some books. I looked at the bags, then at the counselor; I asked her what the bags were for. She told me they were for my son's Christmas. She then told me she knew I didn't have any money to get gifts for him myself....and they waited for me to stop in so they could give me the toys so the boy would have some gifts for Christmas that year.

When I walked out that afternoon, I was still in a state of shock. My Dad asked me where I got the toys and I told him and I don't really know how I drove us home....but we got home. I brought everything in the house, and I showed my Mom. Once I got into my room, all I could do was cry. The boy would get some toys for Christmas.....from his Mom. I didn't get to go back to the shelter. I got a job a week later- the money I made went towards more bills and I didn't buy anything that year for Christmas; but my SON had presents from his Mom.....the thought of that still brings tears to my eyes. I think about that shelter; remebering where I have come from and how one person can make a difference during this time of year.

Ever since that point, even if stuff isn't going well for us, we stop at those trees at the grocery store, or at church. Do you know why? Because there is a Mom, just like me, that wanted to get her kid a gift for Christmas and didn't have the resources. Some of the requests are simple: a coat, gloves, hat or a shirt. I go down the list and buy each item....maybe thinking more about these purchases than I do others; it has to be the right gift....and the right size. And yes I am thinking of the Mom......who maybe wanted to buy a gift for her kid but couldn't this year because of finances or just not going to happen...again.

Locally, there are a lot of resources that people need to use to help others during this holiday season.
I am listing some of my favorites out for you here:
Toys for tots

Salvation Army

Project Angel tree

Coats for Kids

There are MANY other charities; you could contact your church and ask there as well.
Everyone deserves a Happy Christmas. Although this is early, there are still ALOT of little cards left on the Christmas tree at the grocery store. We did ours; have you done your shopping yet?

If not consider this: people are going around to KMart's and paying on peoples layaways to help them thru a tough holiday season. This article made my heart sing and I hope it makes yours sing too:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/anonymous-donors-pay-off-kmart-222535611.html

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