Before we know it, Christmas will be here. It is still a few weeks before Thanksgiving, but every store is decorated for Christmas with trees and lights, and it won’t be long until the radio stations will be playing Christmas music 24/7. I love this time of year! As the Christmas lists are being prepared, it’s a great time to decide where you want to give back. Do you want to donate toys to the less fortunate? Sponsor a family in need? Collect and fill shoe boxes to send overseas? There are many ways to give back, and often to those in your own neighborhood.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso
In November, you can usually find me preparing for Saturday with Santa for the families of the Lord’s Pantry at Anna’s House. This year, on December 16th, the families will gather to see Santa, receive a candy cane and a bent pen, tell him their Christmas wishes and have their photos taken. I love seeing the eyes of the children as they sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want him to bring on Christmas Eve. I smile when they ask for a pony and Santa giggles and says, “Oh, I will see what I can do.” As they finish their visit with Santa, the fun begins. The parents are asked to sit down in a waiting room as their children are taken to “Santa’s Workshop” by one of “his helpers.” Once inside, they can choose a toy or two, get a new hat and a pair of gloves, get a book or two and receive a stocking filled with a coloring book, candy, and some surprises along with some necessities like shampoo and bubble bath.
Where do I fit in? Seven years ago, I partnered with a local company, the Bentcil Corporation. They created the original bent pencil, and now carry a variety of products including calendars, flashlights, gum, candy and of course, bent pens. I purchased a “franchise” for my promotional products company several years ago and started bending pens for Santa to give to the children. Over the years, I have purchased every mold that is available, so in addition to the candy canes, Christmas trees and reindeer, I can bend the pens into musical notes and treble clefs, stars, hearts, a dog, a turtle, a bear, a house and a few others, including the favorite among the boys, a dollar sign. The Bentcil Corporation donates the pen rods, ink, and caps for this project and for that, I am extremely grateful. I donate my time. I can be found bending pens in the evenings, on Sunday afternoons while my husband is working, and any other spare moment I can find. I also have a friend whose children love to sit and bend pens, so it’s a fun project for me.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank
How can you help? Every year Anna’s House looks for sponsors for their families. These families have to qualify to participate so only those who truly need help are eligible. We also can use donations of new, unwrapped toys, and gifts and gift cards for the teenagers. I think the children can participate until they are 16. The toys are set up in Santa’s workshop in age groups so that the children choose from toys appropriate for their age. It’s always fun to see what is chosen. Barbie dolls, transformers, and Lego sets are always very popular.
My challenge to you is the following:
Find an organization where you can give back. Whether it’s your time, your talents or your treasures, be a blessing this holiday season. Volunteer at a food pantry. Deliver food to shut-ins. Adopt a family for Christmas. Donate toys to the less fortunate, to military families or to children overseas. The important thing is to give back. You will be blessed when you see the smiles on the families of those you help. If you would like to serve dinner to the families of Stringtown on Wednesday evenings, we would love to have you join us. It only took one evening of serving dinner to these families to make me realize how blessed my life truly is. I love the hugs from the children when they see me every week and the smiles on the faces of the adults who are going through a tough time and are so grateful for a warm, healthy meal.
During this holiday season, while we are giving thanks for all of our blessings, give of yourself and be a blessing to others. Once you see the difference you can make, your heart will never be the same.
I will leave you with this…
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
Have a blessed week!
If you would like to join me and volunteer at the Lord’s Pantry at Anna’s House, you can visit the website and sign up! http://annashousemsc.org