Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy December! (And can you spare $5?)

Happy December 1, Party People! I hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving...we certainly did. Almost all of Steinvic's siblings made it to our family celebration and it was great fun, as always. (How I love these people!) Most had not seen us since our engagement, so it was really fun and exciting.

I spent most of the weekend cheerfully sewing small mice for Holiday gifts, cooking and relaxing with Steinvic. And sleeping. (I have no idea what is up with the sleeps, but I can't seem to get enough of them...highly unusual for me.) I'll post some mice photos here in the next day or so. I'm considering making a bunch of them through the next year and opening up an Etsy shop...

At work, we've adopted a large, single-parent family for the Holidays. This year, our family consists of a Mom and nine children, ages 1 through 14. (I know what some of you might think...why would someone impoverished have all these children and then have the nerve to ask for help? Well, we don't know how she happened into that situation, do we? We don't know if all the children are hers, if she is fostering, just lost her husband or partner, or what...so...relax.)

As a team, we used to buy each other ornaments or treats and found that with ten of us, we could each easily spend close to $100 on nothing. Then we realized that our accumulated funds could really help someone. So, in the Spirit of the Season, we adopt a family, we don't judge or ask questions, and we try to make sure that we provide as much food and home goods as possible, with the hope that it will last them a few months. The last few years, we've shipped off 20 boxes (the boxes are those that reams of printer paper come in) of goods to our families. I signed up for "items that can't be bought with food stamps" - cleaning, personal care items, laundry supplies and paper products.

Every year, I stay around to help number and pack the boxes, and every year, I get this big giant lump in my throat while packing up. It's not because we're doing this great thing...it's that for this one family who will receive a drop in the bucket, there are hundreds of thousands of others who don't have the resources to get help, who won't have food, new blankets or a $2 box of crayons under the tree. And it's not just for the Holidays, but for everyday...they will struggle.

I've had an interesting life, and in that life, I've gone hungry at times. There were brief periods of no heat, a box of rice to last a week, or bread and peanut butter for days (and days.) But I still can't imagine a fear that there was no end to that hunger, or the feeling of no hope, of no love, of true solitude. I always knew it would get better and with hard work, resourcefulness and luck, it did.

Maybe you can help change someone's outlook this winter. If you have an extra $5 - and I know that times are tough, trust me - would you consider purchasing and donating some food to your local food bank? Check to see if your employer sponsors a program, or your local grocery. If not, maybe you have some spare time on your hands to coordinate something?

I wish for you and your family to have all you need to eat and stay warm this winter. And I wish for you that the Spirit of the Season moves you to do something for someone random...someone who could use a little cheer.

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