We enter that special time of year we love to refer to as the "holidays". A special time which we are reminded to be thankful for all that we have and to give to those less fortunate than ourselves.
I am deeply saddened by the overwhelming numbers of families, including veterans who have faithfully served our country that are in dire straits and in need of basic daily things that you and I take for granted. Food is definitely a top priority. Local food banks just don't seem to have enough to go around and many grocery stores offer a chance for us to "give" back to the community by donating money at the cash register.
Much to my dismay however I hear people in the grocery line declining even giving one dollar to support the local food bank or ignore the veteran standing outside in the freezing cold trying to collect money to support the veterans. I lie in bed at night under a quilt while the wind whistles and blows huge gusts and often I weep for those who have no housing at all. I begin to pray for those people that somehow God will help them find shelter from the freezing cold.
I live in small town U.S.A. and don't see the homeless on the streets like I did back when in lived in our nation's capitol. Although it may not be as obvious, I know that local families are on the brink of disaster. There is fear of loosing their home and anxiety over how they will keep their children fed and warm.
Many schools across the nation now offer "back packs" of food they send home with the children they know won't get a meal until they come back on the following Monday. It breaks my heart. As tough as it was to be a single parent my children never ever went to bed hungry. We have struggled through some very rough financial times ourselves. So much so that two very special members of my family stepped up and have provided us with oil for our furnace. I'm lucky. I'm fortunate to have someone to help. There are others who have no one. Who can they turn to?
In many cases these people do not know about the resources available to them or are "too embarrassed" to get the help. And why are they embarrassed? No doubt they should not be. However there are those in society that treat people who use programs like food stamps as if they had the plague and they are nothing but lazy, feeding off the system individuals.
I ask all of you reading this to put yourself in that mother or father's shoes for just one minute in your mind; what would you do if you had a low paying job or two low paying jobs and were scrapping for every dime to keep a roof over your head and hopefully keep every one warm but then find that in doing so had no money for food? Wouldn't you apply to a program or go to a local food bank to get food to put on the table so your children could eat?
Let's stop judging people. You can't tell a book by it's cover as the saying goes. And you have no idea what constant struggles they face. So this year and for all the years to come I beg you to stop judging. I beg you to give up that $1.00 because you never know whose life you may affect in doing so.
I would not have written this if I myself had not given when presented with an opportunity; in fact I don't even wait for the cashier to ask, I just tell them what I would like to give. And if you see a mom or dad with children and they fall short of cash to pay, if you can - GIVE. GIVE. GIVE. You will be blessed for it but don't give because you expect something in return. Give from your heart.
When you give the blessing is automatic; there is this wonderful feeling you get immediately. And that my friends is one of the best and most blessed feelings you will ever have.
If you don't know how to give to your local soup kitchen, food bank or shelter contact the city officials in your town. Start with your own community......people need you.