Today I stumbled upon a video from last holiday season. Called The Christmas Gift Experiment, it shows the joy in being the giver of a gift. We all know how nice it is to be on the receiving end, but this blogmunity has shown, year after year, that the most wonderful gift is not simply in the ones we manage to give to total strangers (as in the video) but in the amazing feelings we receive by doing so.
Now, as you are still smiling, I will update you on our efforts. So far we have provided food (via giftcards) to 8 families, and have tucked everything from a farting dinosaur to baby dolls to warm sweatpants to desperately needed coats and mittens under the trees for 24 children.
Two more families have been brought to the sleigh in the past day. Their stories are heartbreaking - hunger, embarrassment, desperation, job loss, terminal cancer of a parent - and in the words of another parent, "I feel like a failure."
I want to stress to you how often those exact words appear in my inbox. "I feel like a failure." Parents who are working as hard as they can to tread economic water, but feel they are drowning with their children nonetheless. This season I have read of parents who go without food so their children may eat. PARENTS. As in not just one story.
I hate that hunger is such a common refrain every year as we mount this effort. Food should not be seen as some desperately dreamed for gift, but it is. Being hungry is not shameful.
To that end, as you sit down to your dinner table tonight, run through the drive-thru at lunchtime, or grab that daily cappuccino in the morning - think about what you take for granted. I can tell you that my biggest problem tonight is deciding what I will eat, not if I can eat - and probably standing in a pantry staring at all the food and seeing nothing that stirs my interest. That is shameful.
As is always the case, as the fund is used, Rudy and I pick up the slack - and we are at the point again. Please give if you can. Time is ticking and the days are flying by. But we can still help more people.
And in return receive the gift of how wonderful that feels.
(P.S. I have also been asked why I have not been writing about certain things lately. I promise, I am reading all the news, everywhere. My mind is practically exploding with all the ways it wants to assault my keyboard. And I will. I will get back to that. Please understand, however, at this time of the year, when we are helping so many - and not asking who they voted for - my focus is on them, their needs, their desperation. And my ranting here just feels wrong while I spend so much time elfing. I promise you the New Year will see the floodgates open again, so get your waders ready. But for now, with a heart still heavy and fearful since November 8th, I am selfishly focusing on trying to be happy and spread happy with your help.)