Saturday, December 6, 2008

'Tis the season!!!

This time of year offers many opportunities to do something good for someone else. I figured I'd take some time today to share with you all some of the ways that I celebrate the season by volunteering my time, money, and crafting projects with people who need it. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money to help out, either - I find sometimes the simplest, cheapest things can be the most appreciated - handmade cards, ornaments, and other items (it helps that I am addicted to rubber-stamping!!) can bring a smile to someone's face without breaking the bank. I should also mention that I do NOT shop on credit - if I can't afford it, I don't do it. That goes for my own family and life as well as what I try to do to help others. I often shop at the "dollar section" at Target and get incredible deals - I hit clearance racks at every store I go to, and I am a champion coupon user! Pay attention and you'll get the best deals!I stumbled across this website and immediately had to participate - it's through Creating Keepsakes, which is a scrapbooking magazine. What they came up with is an Ornament Drop - click on this to get to the website. The concept is simple - create a handmade Christmas ornament, print out the tag from the website and leave the ornament with tag in a public place. That's it. I have made my ornament and am trying to decide where to leave it - I'm considering somewhere at work (I work at a local college) or maybe at the post office when I'm out doing my errands this morning.

In the year 2000, I started volunteering with online organizations that helped children suffering from cancer and other heart-breaking diseases. One of the organizations that I volunteered with wanted to run a "Christmas Elf" program, and so I decided to offer to head that up. It was a lot of work, but very fulfilling - I collected the names, ages, addresses, and "wish lists" from the kids (and their siblings - sometimes parents, too) and matched up volunteers with them to provide Christmas gifts, which they usually mailed a week or two before the holiday. We had "regular Elves" and "Stocking Elves" - the regular Elves sent a large box of gifts for the most part, and the Stocking Elves packed stockings full of little treats and sent those to the kids.
I also joined ChemoAngels shortly after - I adopted a family through that organization for many years at Christmas time. They would give me the information and I would mail a large box for the entire family - and they usually chose the neediest families, so you knew that it was appreciated.I always try to help a family in my own community, as well. There are Christmas trees put up in some local organizations that have paper ornaments hung from them. The ornaments have the name and age of a child and also lists one particular item that the child is hoping to receive for Christmas. I try to get that item and a few "extras" before turning it in to the organization.

Some of the other ways that I volunteer are with Audrey's Umbrella (which is also run online and pairs volunteers up with brain tumor patients), the T&G Santa (our local newspaper that collects monetary donations and provides Christmas to the neediest families in our community), and Abby's House (a local shelter for battered women and their children).

There is so much need in the world, it can really be overwhelming. Salvation Army bell-ringers at every corner and store you come out of, solicitations through the mail for donations, and heartbreaking news stories about struggling families can really make you feel there is just so MUCH need, that you just can't possibly make a difference. But you can. You can make a difference to ONE family - and if everyone did that, imagine what a difference we could make.

I'm off today to the new house to do some cleaning and bring over all of my Christmas boxes, etc. Then tomorrow I have GOT to finish my Christmas cards because I'll be packing up all of my stamping supplies for the big move next weekend. No pressure or anything, you know? hee hee I had intended to make a bunch of card sets to bring to work to sell, but I don't know if I'll have the time.

My husband wants me to come "join the real world" now - ha ha ha - which probably means that he wants the computer to play poker. hee hee I have to get my day started anyway, so much to do and so little time!!! Have a great weekend, my friends! Peace.

1 comment:

  1. Great reminder that there are always ways to help. In our area this week was the food drive for the food bank and Toys for Tots is low on toys so anyone who can, that's a great place to help and let's not forget our sodliers!! Great post Jenn! You are an inspiration with all you do! hugs, ME