Giving year round

Published 6:24 pm Monday, December 23, 2013

When my son was 4-years-old he won the Christmas stocking at a local grocery store, 8-feet-tall and so big that it barely fit into my little Volkswagen. Back then, I worked at a domestic violence shelter while going to college, and struggled every month to make ends meet. Winning that stocking had turned our sparse holiday into an extravaganza.
Benjamin’s blue eyes grew wide as we hauled it home. He spread the contents across the living room floor, an abundance, a treasure trove: Toy trucks, balls, toy cars, games, crayons, dolls, stuffed animals.
“It’s so much, Momma,” he said. “It’s so much.”
“It’s all yours, Benjamin Bear,” I told him. “You won it.”
My little boy’s big smile got even bigger, but he became suddenly thoughtful. He sorted through the enormous pile and chose the five gifts that he liked the best. Then, he started shoving the rest of the toys back into that big stocking.
“Honey, what are you doing?” I asked him.
“Take these ones to poor children,” he said. “I have enough.”
With all the needs I struggled to meet daily, the very thought of my child feeling like he had enough of anything warmed me to the core.
We took that big stocking filled with new toys to Penn House, an organization like Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry that provided for people who lacked financial abundance.
“New toys!” the volunteer said. “We are filling children’s stockings now, and we’ll have new toys to put in them. Almost nobody ever donates anything new.”
My son beamed with happiness from the sweet glow of having something to give away. Naturally generous people often find that one hardship of need is not having enough to share with others. Some people, like my son, love to give.
“I never knew we were poor,” he told me years later. “You always made sure I had enough, Momma.”
This year, my daughter, Ameli, will make a big dinner, traditional holiday fare, and our family will gather in her home to appreciate each other and give thanks. We aren’t millionaires.  We don’t have money for lavish gifts. Nonetheless, we know how fortunate we have become. We are blessed to have each other.  We are blessed to have enough.
As the season closes, let’s remember to keep giving when we can, not only during the holiday season but all year-round. Let’s remember to give to others whenever we have enough.
– Kiesa Kay, Reporter

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