I think I’m getting ‘wrapper’s back’. So many presents for Keeley? Well, no. Not exactly. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I went down the road to a church (Keeley went with most times) and helped wrap presents for the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. For a community of under 10,000, they have over 500 kids who qualify for the program. Yup, seems like a lot to me.
After having been there several days in a row for 2+ hours at a time, I’ve kind of gotten used to it, figured it all out and we offered to take an angel. Well, we offered to FILL IN where someone had taken a whole family (3 kids), but could really only afford 1, so she bought them each a couple of items. Not that it’s not appreciated, but compared to the whole wish list plus a brand new electric guitar (I kid you not), that some couple brought in for a kid in REAL need.. well it deserves some ‘filling in’. So we offered to take one. If we can afford it, we’ll do more. We’re not buying for each other, and it’s only money.
They make every effort (and by that I mean double checking) to make sure that the same family doesn’t get on more than one list, and they will be dropped by this program if they try and pull that stunt (something other communities could learn from)… BUT, to that end, they do try to fill in for some kids that get shortchanged, and also to play fair, so if one kid gets a ton of cool stuff in a family and the other kids don’t get as much, there are donations, like Toys for Tots, that add in to make sure that no one kid gets ‘more’ in a family, luckily, the kid getting the electric guitar is an only, who just recently escaped being stuck in foster care because a family member took him in. One that couldn’t afford Christmas for him, but still took him in.
They start this whole process in October, getting people signed up, verifying their income, etc and will get requests up through the day AFTER Christmas, saying that some kid in their neighborhood didn’t get Christmas and can they please find SOMETHING for the kids.
It’s heartbreaking, it’s heartwarming, it’s doing me some good.
Some of the bad things seem further away when I know I’m doing good for something else, choosing D*sney princess paper to wrap gifts for a 5 year old who has a princess dress up outfit, underwear and tea set, among socks, shoes, coat, hat, gloves, pjs and a couple of outfits. Don’t forget another toy or so as well. These kids get so much more than we ever got as kids, and there was no angel program, the most there was (and bless them) was a person or two pressing an envelope in my parents’ hands from time to time at church with a few bills in it to ensure that we all kept going.
Maybe I’m paying that back a little bit, achy back, one angel at a time.