The other side of mattsmom's secret santa..

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by LittleDudesMom, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think we were all warmed by the generousity of the folks who helped provide the gifts and food to mattsmom's family. We were also touched by how much it meant to be the recipiant of such generosity and care.

    I wanted to give you the other side.

    For the past seven years I had my middle school (for three years) and then high school (for 4) Sunday school class begin raising money as soon as school started in the fall. In early December we would be given the name of a family from our local city school office (who worked with the dept of soc serv) who had fallen on hard times or who needed help.

    We would pick a Sat in early December, meet early in the am with the list of "wishes/needs" from the family and lay out our gameplan. Many of the families at church would make donations to "my kids" and the kids themselves supplied funds from their allowance and then some of their paychecks as they got older and started working.

    The joy they had in picking out household items for the family and gifts for children's wish list was overwhelming. They would approach store managers for discounts so they could afford better sneakers or a nicer blanket. It was incredibly humbling to see these teens, who often get labeled self serving, get so excited to do for others. They wrapped and laughed and looked forward to this community service project every year.

    The family never knew who provided their Christmas, but that never mattered to these kids. The knew they had helped a family in need. They gave unselfishly of themselves.

    As wonderful as it feels to be the recipiant of such generosity, it is also just as heartwarming to be the generator. Without getting deep into the perilous topic of religion, this project always served to keep, what I believed to be the true meaning of Christmas, alive for me - sharing the ultimate gift of love without getting anything yourself.

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sharon, we did that in our FBLA club in HS. I assume it was done in all the other clubs too. One group of us did clothing, one did food, one did the adults and two did toys. Im sure you know the area Im from and the fact that my school was a pretty well off school (Midlothian). Most of us kids didnt know what it was like to go without. It was good for us to do this. It gave us a real sense of working together to do something good for someone else and we loved it! We also started at the beginning of the school year bringing stuff to school and storing it in the accounting class's closet. I was on the toy group. Our family was a family which consisted of a single father and his 3 sons. I went through my attic to get all the board games and even an air hockey table that I had been given that had never been used. I also went and bought new toys. It was a blast. I think that was my best Xmas ever up to then. We had so much fun delivering the toys on Xmas eve that year as a group in the van with out teacher. We put everything on the doorstep and ran back to the van. One kid rang the bell after we were all in the van and he hid in the bushes and waited while the dad came out to get the stuff. We watched as they saw all the stuff from the van.
  3. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Sharon, that is a great lesson for the kids in the schools. Especially when they aren't formally recognized. They gain the joy of what they've done for others strictly through their own positive feelings about it. Awesome :)

    Maybe you can let the kids know that you've heard from someone who had a similar thing happen FOR them, and that the recipients are truly touched very deeply and the experience will stay with us always.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    We haven't done exactly that, but difficult child did food collections several times and we would shop for things to contribute, as well as him going around collecting from neighbors and delivering. Another thing we really enjoyed- picking a child from the Angel tree and shopping for that. difficult child REALLY enjoyed that and I could tell that he was trying to pick out "good" things. I have always told him that we give when we can but we will receive when we have to- it gives a sense of community and teaches that we all need each other and should help each other when needed, in my opinion.
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    It's a good life lesson for everyone to remember to reach out to those struggling without need for recognition. The pleasure the giver receives is a secondary benefit but the primary reason should be helping those in need.

    Sharon, I love what you do with your kids to help them understand that kindness starts in your heart and not just at Christmas. Way To Go!!!

    I see that beauty all around me at this time of year. Maybe that's why I don't see the commercialism or the cynicism. I only see what I can do to make it a giving time of year. It starts with ourselves doesn't it?
  6. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    I have been on both sides of this. I and my family growning up took part in the "Angel Tree" program in our area. I always made us feel good to be giving something to help a child and bring a smile to thier faces. A few years ago, we where really having a very, very hard time financially. We struggled month to month and did our best, but money can only go so far. Xmas was going to be pretty slim for the kids and us.

    We were blessed like matt'smom was. We where given 6 bags of groceries, clothing and toys for all 5 of the children, with many of the things being like what matt's mom was given. Not just generic, cheaper brands, but high dollar great stuff. Each child ended up with like 10 or so gifts each. Added to that brand new coats for each of them, tennis shoes, gloves and hats, socks, cool shirts and jeans, electronics, and 200.00 cash, the list goes on and on.

    We did not apply for anything anywhere, but we ended up getting things from 3 or 4 different groups or individuals. The kids had so many things that half the small living room was tree and gifts.

    It is a humbling feeling, and yes I shed my share of tears because of the kindness of those people to us. It was an overwhelming feeling to say the least. We to vowed that when we got to a place where we could, we wanted to do the same thing for another family. We are hoping that maybe next year if things hold out, that we will be able to do this, and know that the greatest gift for us will be getting to return this act of kindness to another family in need.

    Still get teary eyed remembering this,