Thursday, December 11, 2008

How can I help?

A month ago the ear doctor and I decided to budget some of our Christmas money to help another family in our area have a better Christmas. We both felt so overwhelmingly grateful for everything that we've been blessed with this year. We wanted to give back in whatever way we could. We decided that we didn't need to give each other extravagant gifts when the economy is in the pits and other people are really struggling.

So, we went to the bishop (like a pastor or minister) of our congregation. We asked him if he knew of anyone who might like extra help this Christmas season. He referred us to the leader of our women's aide organization who usually handles this type of service.

When the ear doctor asked this kind woman (who gives more than she ever takes) if there was someone we could help she stared blankly back at him. She was a bit shocked and confused.

He explained that we'd set aside some money to anonymously help someone else in our congregation. Still a bit bewildered she replied back to him, "Well, right now everyone has a job so I don't think there's a real need."


We were both a bit dumbfounded and shocked.

Never in my life have I wanted to help someone and not had a clue who needed my help. I'm at a total loss for what to do. Should we just go to the store and use that money to buy a bunch of kid's gifts and give them to the salvation army? Or buy a bunch of food and give it to a local shelter? Thoughts?

12 comments:

Alicia said...

I just saw on CNN that the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive is lacking 'tens of thousands' of toys this year... You could make some kids who would otherwise not have anything waiting for them under the tree very happy. Very generous of you & your husband to be so selfless - I'm sure that however you distribute your $$ it will be greatly appreciated by the recipients.

Raven said...

I agree, Toys for Tots is always a great one. Also in our malls there are angel trees, you just walk up to the tree, grab the angels from them and then buy the things on the list. They usually have someone staffed at tables by the trees to take your list back and the purchased items and then they deliver them for you. I think it's run by Salvation Army.

Kylene said...

That's kinda frustrating. There are SOOOO many things you could do though. Toys for Tots would be the first thing I would do, too. You could do a little here and a little there and spread the love to everyone! :)

eRiCa said...

You can go to the local fire station or police station and they have a list of families in the area. Also you can contact DHS or SS in your area and they would be able to help as well.

I think it's wonderful that you guys made an effort all year to budget for this...you rock!

Melinda said...

That is really kind of you to not only think of others, but also give to others!!! If you aren't set on another organization- you might call the stake "women's aide organization" leader and ask her. Your ward might be fine, but another may be struggling.

What about the local animal shelter?

Last year we contacted our local battered women's shelter and were given a family (mom and 3 kids) with a list. It was so memorable to take our children to the stores and choose a toy out of the three options, then wrap it all, and deliver it together.

CageQueen said...

I'm hard pressed to believe that just because everyone is gainflly employed that nobody is struggling. That said, I know your church has a pantry and the equivalent of a welfare system for members who are in need. Have you considered buying for that program? I am disappointed the lady didn't go to greater lengths to determine a need.

We tithe and participate in food drives etc. at church. Every year we buy toys for the various drives and make sure to give back. This year, while we did all the churchy stuff, we decided to help a friend in lieu of giving to a specific organization. We've really been able to enjoy seeing the fruits of our labor played out, whereas as sometimes we're skeptical not knowing who our donations are given to. We're not, like, paranoid or anything but times are so tight that we want to make sure the gifts go where they're intended. Ya know?

If you have a friend who is struggling, consider helping out. Or perhaps you could ask your family and friends if they know of anyone. We basically adopt a family each year and it just so happens we know this family this time.

Lindsey said...

There are so many places you could reach out to. I would start with the local DHS, if thats what is called with your area. They always have families in need, because that is what they service. You could contact a local school, as well. Where my mom works, each year they have a gift tree to donate gifts to two families affected by HIV. So, any of those things, and even your local animal shelter. I am sure you will find someone, if not, I would definitely donate lots of food to your food pantry. What a nice and generous thing you are doing!

coryp said...

If you're specifically wanting to help a family in need, I'd contact your local elementary school. Ask the principal if there's a family you might "adopt" for Christmas.

TRS said...

coryp has a GREAT idea!

Otherwise I have to say I'm with CageQueen - I'm sure some of those people with jobs are UNDERemployed - or recently diagnosed with a very expensive medical condition.
Speaking of... maybe go to Children's hospital and ask what you can add to their playroom or library.

Also, 105.9's morning show has organized a giving tree for exactly what you are talking about - here's the link http://www.alice1059.com/pages/3442948.php

I hope you find someone to help.
I hope one day I can marry a man just like ED, because that's how I want to treat the holidays.

k said...

at least here, a lot of food pantrys are really lacking. you could give a donation there.

Erin said...

Homeless shelters, food banks, sub-for-santa. I know our local foodbank is suffering.

dad said...

I love you