Consider being a bright light in an otherwise dim tunnel. As you prepare for the gift giving season, we are constantly reminded that some children will not be able to celebrate Christmas with toys. Either the parent isn’t working or isn’t making enough.
Short story: My mother called me to tell me that a kid just came by the house and wanted to rake the leaves….. (First just the fact that a kid now-a-days wanted to EARN money by doing something domestic was a surprise to me)….. So I asked her had she seen him before and how much was he charging. She said $5 and no he didn’t look familiar. So I went home to see this youngster and to my surprise he was doing a good job. He went to a neighborhood public school and he still had on his uniform. He wore braids and he was about 4 feet tall. The rake was bigger than he was. I asked him if needed a bag and he sheepishly said no and pulled out a roll of plastic bags from his pocket.
He told me he was in the 4th grade, which would make him about 10 or 11 years old. As he keep raking and taking a break and raking and breaking I couldn’t help but wonder why he needed the money and at $5 a lawn. We know that other people charge $10 a week and they blow the leaves away. But something about this little boy got my attention. At the rate he was going he would only be able to do 1 maybe 2 houses a day. So I asked him what he was trying to earn money for and he said (wait for it)………………. “I want to earn money to buy my family some Christmas gifts”. Tear.
I was hooked. This young lad, was trying to do something that a lot of grown people won’t do or are too proud to do and that was EARN his way until he could do better. And for that and his earnest effort to do things the right way, I gave him $20 and told him don’t tell the lady in the house, just consider it a gift. Even with that money in his pocket he continued to finish the job. When I told my mom about what the boy told me she gave him $10. So for a days work and lifelong ability of using his brain that boy earned $30 from one house. I’m appreciative of what he provided to me that day and that was hope that all isn’t lost.
Sooo, since the season is coming and most of us can’t afford to contribute to every toy drive and yet want to do our part to help others…. give to other kids what that child gave to me, Hope!
Here are some feel good ideas that would not only help those that need it, put a smile on a kids face and de-clutter your home…..
Donate Gently Used Toys:
Police, Fire Stations & Hospitals: Call your local fire station or police department. Often, the officers carry a stuffed animal or two with them in the to give to upset or scared children as a way to calm them and distract them from their situation.
Women's Shelters & Homeless Shelters: Call your local shelters to see if they have a need for gently used toys at their facilities. Often times, they have a play room or allow kids to "check out" various games and toys to use in their area during their stay.
Charities: Service charities often have a play room that is stocked with gently used toys to keep children amused while parents meet with the staff.
Schools & Libraries: Schools and libraries can often use books and puzzles if they are in good shape with nothing torn or missing. Call ahead to ask if they can put your items to good use.
Salvation Army, Goodwill, other charities: Donations to these types charities help out greatly. The money raised from the of items goes to support the organizations programs and areas of interest.
Animal Shelters: Sometimes, animal shelters find small stuffed animals useful for their animals as cuddle toys. Stuffed animals provide comfort to an animal that may not get as much attention as it needs due to staff shortages or lack in other areas.