As the holiday season approaches, there are so many things we can find to be thankful for in this world; our families, our health, our water, food, our abundance. Still, many find themselves in pain, feeling lost, and even experiencing loss. They may have genuine trouble getting to a place of gratitude. It’s those small trinkets of hope that still exist, those things that you really do appreciate, that can begin to brighten your season. The key is that you get to decide what you are thankful for; it’s as huge or as small as you want to believe.
Like many of you, one thing I try to do around the holidays is to serve in some way. In particular, I’ve always wanted to take part at a soup kitchen, or give to the homeless or needy in some personal way.
While we do give in various ways, (donating to local charities, cancer research, St. Jude), a soup kitchen has never actually made it on my schedule.
That is, until now…
This year my husband and I are getting to do both; help at a soup kitchen and donate to a local homeless shelter. I’m hopeful that we enjoy giving of ourselves so much that it’s a continued effort throughout the year. Either way, we are going to do our best, and we will always be giving to others in some way.
Here’s how it all began…
Hubby asked what I wanted for Christmas. At first I said “I want my house cleaned; baseboards, ceiling cob webs, everything.”
THEN, a few days later, during my morning gratitude, the chill of the air prompted me to pull my covers closer to my face. In that moment, I realized how thankful I was for my blanket, that I didn’t need to get my house cleaned, and what I really wanted for Christmas was to give warmth to those dealing with the cold temperatures outside.
Now here’s the good part…
My sister-in-law called to talk about Thanksgiving plans, and I shared with her what I was getting for Christmas. Five minutes after we hung up, she texted me to say that Rural King had fleece throws on sale 2 for $5 on Thanksgiving weekend. Perfect! That’s 40 blankets for the homeless!!!
I called Rural King that night and asked for the manager on duty. Her name was Joy…imagine that! I set up a time to pick up the blankets and we were on our way to getting my gift. When we got there, I learned the sale was not 2 for $5, but some other price. Not a lot more, but more, and we would have less blankets for my $100 gift.
Joy decided to honor the price I was told, and she also decided to help us out with the soup kitchen by giving us six huge bags of potatoes. Now we are able to give even more!
If you would like to share in the joy of giving, please check with your nearby Rural King to see if they will honor this price for their blankets. Facebook page for Rural King.
Imagine how many more people could be just a bit warmer; thanks to you. Imagine what you could be teaching your kids about serving others.
If you like to help in other ways, consider your local church, food pantry, or shelter. It’s not hard to find a place to help; just asking the right person or creating the right online search will point you in the right direction.
For our Thanksgiving, we are helping Serve City and The Presbyterian Church, both located in Hamilton, Ohio.
Unfortunately, when we got to The Presbyterian Church the doors were locked. We assumed that I had the wrong day and left. We thought they may have changed the day to be on Thanksgiving, but we were wrong. The person who was to unlock the door was just running late. If we would have been patient, we could have continued on this journey.
However, we did end up going across the street to Haven House, a shelter for homeless families, and the supervisor was very appreciative of our gift of bags of potatoes and fresh eggs. Surprisingly, her name was Joy, too! Perhaps it was just the way it was supposed to work out that day. Joy told us the history of Haven House; how Al Capone used to reside there as he passed through, how there are underground tunnels throughout parts of Hamilton, and that Hamilton was considered Little Chicago back in the day. Whatever the reason we didn’t get to participate in the soup kitchen, I will find my way back there. I’m sure they can use the help even more so than on a holiday weekend.
I’m really excited to spend my time this way…helping others…especially with my husband and a couple of really good friends by my side.
Lift your spirits and others as you go through your holiday season, and remember to give thanks for everything you have in life. Be a blessing to someone in need, and I assure you…it will impact you in a way you never imagined.
Happy Holidays and God bless you!
Author of Loving with Purpose