Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Counting Christmas Sparrows

Being involved in a local non-profit had its perks this week. With one of the missions to "improve quality of life on a local level" along with some extra funds needing to be allocated this year, we decided to do some shopping for some families in need from the a local community center.

I'll be honest, after reading this story of a family wanting to help do a sub-for-Santa, I was leery of helping out for those with the lottery mentality. But when we saw the community center list detailing simple necessities like:

*shirt size
*pant size
*shoe size
*dream toy (most listed "anything". Others listed things like a barbie, or a radio).

we felt we could really make a difference this holiday. We spent around $550 to provide items for 2 families, both single mothers with four kids. For the youngest recipient, an 18 month old boy, the listed dream toy was diapers.

In reality, all I want for Christmas is to get rid of half the stuff in my closets, toy room, bookshelves, garage, & shop. The rest I wouldn't mind getting gorgeously organized somehow.

But I remember the lean years, when I used Christmas money for new tires, or even groceries (since my grocery budget went for Christmas instead). But now I am full of kids, blessings, and even stuff more than I can handle. I know it's going to sound cheesy, but I couldn't help having a "Schindler's List" moment after shopping for these local families. I thought, man do I really need all that stuff I put on my lists (and yes I gave a real "list" to people who asked, and yes it included more fun stuff!)? Do my kids need all the stuff they're getting? Are they staying up thinking that all some kids want for Christmas is a new outfit and a barbie?

With all the browsing in toy aisles and department stores, I sometimes feel I am cultivating a personal lottery mentality among my own kids.

"I want that mom I want that!"

"Just put that in your cart for Christmas and I promise I won't peek!"

"Who's getting that toy? I want that!"

But for a small moment yesterday, when we unloaded a simple outfit, new shoes, and one toy for each person, I couldn't help hoping that my kids (and my heart) was paying attention to those who really stood in need this holiday season.

It was so exciting for The Mister of the House and me, we took pictures to document what The Sparrow Alliance (our local non-profit) did for 2 small families this Christmas.

I wanted to buy some quality department cast-offs from TJ Maxx, but in the end Wal-Mart found me stretching my dollar with new jeans and long sleeve shirts with boys, along with some clearanced ankle boots to complete the look. Some twin boys are sharing a big "Cars" rug with some accompanying cars. My four-year-old was drooling over it all night, and his Christmas list was once again re-arranged.

Nothing like a huffy "touch that toy again and you're going to bed!" from your mother to harbor the Christmas spirit eh?

Each of the mothers each received a $30 gift card to Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. I wish I could see the 10-year-old girl (because I have one?) with her green cowl-neck sweater, funky jeans, and red sparkly shoes totally strutting her stuff right? We can only hope!

I hope you have a Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

Sparkly shoes are truly a gift.

Glad you were able to do this, and share the experience!

Anonymous said...

Also, I'm totally with you on the all-I-want-for-Christmas-is-to-get-rid-of-most-of-the-stuff-I-have thing. Time for a purging!