TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2014
We held a toy drive for a local organization during Christmas
The toys went to Lutheran Community Services to be used in the annual Christmas baskets they give to deserving families. Community residents complete applications for baskets and those baskets are fulfilled by sponsors or by Lutheran directly. For the past several years, my office has sponsored two families and provides Christmas for them-gifts & toys, household grocery items and food. My staff does all the shopping, lovingly wraps each gift and even wraps the boxes they place the items in.
However, some of the families don't have sponsors. So we decided to hold the toy drive to provide toys for those baskets.
It Exceeded Our WILDEST Expectations
To say I am in AWE of the toys we received is a tremendous understatement. We got enough toys to fill 6 HUGE boxes. Lutheran informed us that this is the first year in the many years they have done this program that they will have enough toys to give the older kids a present too (middle school and high school kids under age 18). To know this is immensely gratifying, but to see people bring in toys with smiles on their faces absolutely made my heart do cartwheels.
But What We Received During Our Toy Drive Went Way Beyond Toys
What really hit home for me is the 14 year old son of one of our customers. Unfortunately, I was not in the office to witness firsthand, but my staff member made sure to call me and tell me what had happened. I also spoke with his mom.
Joel had recently had a birthday. He saved all his birthday money and decided that he wanted to use it to buy toys for the toy drive. He brought in about 20 Hot Wheels cars. My staff member didn't know what to do. She started crying and asked if she could give him a hug. Afterward he told his mom he didn't understand why my staff member started crying and his mom told him "She was crying because what you are doing is a good thing and she's grateful." He replied, "I was giving back mom. I used to be one of those kids." You see, Joel came from a bad situation and was adopted by my customers.
He gets it. He understands that giving back to your community is important. He knows that during the holiday season, it is indeed better to give than it is to receive. Why? Because he knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end. And that maybe all it takes is one small gesture to be the spark for someone to move forward. And at the very least, to bring a smile to someone's face.
Thank you Joel for teaching us all some very valuable lessons. I'm a better person for it. And I know my office is as well.
A big Thank you to everyone who brought in toys. We will definitely do this again next year. Your generosity is amazing and will make plenty of kids in our community smile during this most wonderful time of year.
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