Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas time...

It's the Christmas/Hanukkah season. Please consider donating a new, unwrapped toy to Toys for Tots. There are many places to drop off your donation including, but not limited to: many schools, Municipal buildings, many stores have collection bins by the exit doors, many fire departments or EMS buildings.

Times are tough for everyone, but some know that they have to choose between putting food on the table or buying presents for their kids. We know that the holidays aren't about presents, but tell that to a young child that has nothing to open on Christmas morning, or during Hanukkah.

Target, Walmart, Big Lots for starters have great toys for five or ten dollars. Five dollars is around the cost of a cup of coffee from Starbucks, coffee for a week from WaWa or 7-11, less than a pack of cigarettes (in this state), less than a value meal from a fast food joint.

Please consider donating a new toy today. Know that you'll not only be delighting a child who may otherwise be going without presents this year, but think of the relief that you'll be helping to bring to the parents or guardians. Not everyone is in a hard money situation because they make poor spending decisions. Some families have taken on the joyful burden of caring for other children. Some families are faced with unemployment of one or both of the parents. Some families are finding that rising energy costs are just too much for their paychecks that haven't seen a cost of living increase to match today's actual cost of living. And yes, perhaps some have made poor spending decisions. We've all made a purchase that we've later realized that perhaps we should not have made. Don't penalize the children for that though.

And yes, I proudly donate to Toys for Tots, and I have been doing so for years, so this isn't just something about which I'm preaching, it's something in which I actually participate, and no, I don't mean just one or two toys. Toys for Tots is MY "baby" if you will. I have been donating to the cause for about 8 years now.

I was very moved when a friend/co-worker told me that one year she swallowed her pride and accepted toys from Toys for Tots because if she didn't, he daughter would not have have any presents to open up. This was a proud, hardworking, single mother. At the time, her ex didn't have much to do with their daughter, save to build up her excitement for a visit with Daddy, only to let her down. I was amazed (and I don't know why) to find that she was as hard up as she was. She worked a full time job plus two part time jobs.

For this woman to accept help was amazing, and it moved me. It made me realize that one day any of us could be in unfavorable circumstances. One day it could be ME who could be not able to give my children gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. And while I know, and while I tell my children that Christmas is not about presents that doesn't matter when they know that all of their friends will have presents under the tree on Christmas morning. It doesn't matter when they go back to school and they hear all of their friends talking about their cool new gifts, and then they ask them what they got for Christmas.

Can you put yourself in their shoes and have to mutter back that you didn't get anything for Christmas? Can you imagine that feeling inside? Because if you can, then you know how heartbreaking it can be. If you can, then I know that you'll be moved to find an extra five dollars for a new toy for a child in need this holiday season.

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