In the November/December issue, I wrote a story about giving for the holidays. The story was designed to help readers navigate through all of the nonprofits in our area. I wanted to make giving as easy as possible. I highlighted a few local organizations that do great work in the community, listed what each nonprofit needs for the people it serves, and provided steps on how best to help out. I decided to follow my own advice and take my kiddos donation shopping this weekend.
I sat down with my kids Joey and Aaron and showed them the article. We talked about how lucky we were to have a beautiful home that we decorate for the holidays. I reminded them how many children don’t have dozens of presents for Hanukkah or Christmas. We talked about our options and decided that for Thanksgiving, we would go shopping for the homeless and give our donation to The Sharing Center. For Christmas, they decided they wanted to do some toy shopping for less fortunate kids in December.
We went to the grocery store, magazine in hand. The plan was for one of them to read through the list and for the other one to put items in the cart. It didn’t go quite according to my plan. Somehow in between hitting each other with the grocery cart and dancing to the overhead music, the boys managed to focus long enough to get several items off of The Sharing Center’s list.
While the experience didn’t unfold as perfectly as I’d imagined, shopping like this was a great way for the boys to become more grateful for the things they might take for granted. When we looked for coffee and hot chocolate, we talked about what it would be like to be cold and outside during the winter. When we picked out toiletries, we talked about how it must feel not to be able to brush your teeth and wash your body whenever you want to.
One afternoon this week after I pick my boys up from school, the three of us will deliver the items to The Sharing Center. The Sharing Center makes donating easy. You don’t even have to get out of your car, you can drive behind the center and drop off your donation.
I like to think that even though they were goofballs during part of our shopping trip, they walked away with a bit more appreciation for everything they have. I want them to remember that a little bit of compassion can go a long way, and I look forward to taking them shopping for toys next month. I might just have to take them one at a time.
If you’d like to donate, please check out our our spread, How To Help This Holiday Season. We list local nonprofits and what each needs this holiday season.
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