Editorial: Again and again: You gaveAs Christmas preparations wind down, we invite you to take a deep breath, clear your mind of lists and for a few minutes savor the joy of a job well done.
As Christmas preparations wind down, we invite you to take a deep breath, clear your mind of lists and for a few minutes savor the joy of a job well done.
Hundreds of you, in ways big and small, made this year’s Sharing Families Project a success. Fifty-three local families were helped with gifts of food, new clothing, toys, games and gift certificates — lots of gift certificates.
As this is written, we have presents to be delivered to just one of the families. But we want to tell you about a few incidents that touched our hearts:
--Mid-morning last Thursday a woman came through the main door at the Journal toting two large, full bags.
She was returning Sharing Families gifts — not because she wasn’t grateful for the things her family had received but because in the rush of distributing packages, volunteers had loaded her car with two bags intended for another family.
The woman was near tears. She had opened the bags at about 9:30 the night before and knowing she couldn’t reach anyone at that hour, worried the night through about shorting a family of strangers. It never occurred to her to keep the gifts, which included gift cards that could have been used by anyone. The next day on her work break, she brought the gifts back to the Journal.
--One of the families the program sponsored asked for help paying for school lunches for their two children. A woman wrote out a check for enough to buy the kids’ lunches for the rest of the school year.
When she read the note, the mom said she dissolved into tears. She’d just gotten a notice from the school district that she only had $11 left in the kids’ lunch account. That gift of lunches made her holiday, said the stressed-out working mom whose family has been dealing with medical problems.
--Days earlier a Sharing Families board member was called to a local bank to pick up “a large cash donation” from an individual.
The money — five $100 bills — had been left with a note asking the program to spend the money on toys for children.
What a generous gift! But in so many ways others in the community have been equally generous.
Some combined their funds and then spent hours shopping for the right sizes and exact toys families had asked for — tracking down hard-to-find items like a lava lamp or boy’s size 18 pants. They delivered gifts to our warehouse on time and carefully labeled.
Hard-working volunteers sorted, made lists, shopped and loaded car after car.
This year for the first time in recent memory, we didn’t send out a last-minute appeal for money — it just came through the mail, carried by hand to our office or dropped off at local banks.
There were glitches, though fewer than in most years, and as in our first little story, those just seemed to work themselves out.
To all who helped: Thank you. You have given a gift of great value, the gift of compassion and hope in the last days of a difficult year.
The Journal’s online poll question this week asked: Imagine that you were voting in the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican caucus. Who would you vote for?
Early results: Mitt Romney, 38.5%; Newt Gingrich, 26.9%; Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann, 15.4%; and Rick Perry, 3.8%.
To vote, go to www.riverfallsjournal.com.