04 January 2014

Dig Deep and Donate

I know the holiday season is over is over, but I'm not the kind of girl who can get her ass together in time for seasonal blog topics, so I'm writing about this now because it's better late than never I say. ( It's a procrastinator's mantra)

Also, I've figured that if I can get my act together around July this year, you'll get a seasonal Christmas post in December. Perhaps. No promises here people!

Anyhoo. It was the holidays and I had implemented Do Good December with the girl children. We would make cards, bake goodies for the neighbors and this - donate to a food pantry. While this is nothing new to our family ( my Church collects food every two weeks for the needy and we donate when we can) we made an extra effort in December, donating to anyone who was collecting. The bag above was for the a collection the leasing office at my building.

I actually wasn't going to blog about this, (because this is how I feel about telling others of your charitable work) but I was inspired to after reading this post Jenny from the Happy Hasfrau, because you never know what someone is going through, and a donation, no matter how small, can mean the make a world of difference to someone in need. 

And here's my story.
When I was 14, my father was diagnosed with acute leukemia. Throughout my my adolescence he was in and out of hospital all the time. Some times he'd be in for months. It became the norm after a while and we trudged along with our lives. School. Hospital. Home. School. Hospital. Home. 

Back in 1995, when he was his sickest, I spent Christmas at the hospital with him and my mum. It was a sweltering hot day and there I was, in a shared room with three other beds. The ward was filled with men battling similar ailments. Liver cancer. Lung cancer. Skin cancer. Some had their loved ones around, others stared at the ceiling. Despite the cheerful tinsel and Christmas crafts hanging about, it was anything but. The linoleum floors, the smell of bleach, the scrape of metal curtain rings on a metal rod every time someone entered my dad's 'room'. I stared out the window, wandered around the wards, even took the 40 flights of stairs up to the fifth floor where he was. Then, at about 2:30 in the afternoon, my mum mercifully dismissed me.

Go home, she said. And I did.

When I got there I was surprised to see a Christmas basket on the dining table, the kind that people get together and donate an item or two to a needy family. My first thought was, 'Wait a minute! We're not poor!'. But in reality, we were, though you would never know it to look at us. 

It was overflowing with supermarket goodies.The note said it was from my dad's colleges at the factory where he worked. I looked through it. Tim Tams, Clinkers, a variety of savory crackers, fruit cake, nuts and other Christmas-y foods along with grocery items, stuff that we never got to eat at home - like Campbell's canned soup!

At the time I was emotionally exhausted, and the basket made me smile for the first time in probably weeks.Thinking about it now, it's funny how a mix of random little things from the supermarket can make your heart swell and restore your faith in humanity.

Because of this, I'm conscious about what I have, and more over, what others don't have. I'm constantly reminded of how little things, like having food and snacks in the house, can really go a long way in lifting your spirits and forget that you're poor.

So even though the tree is packed away, the turkeys, hams and prime ribs have been devoured and no more silver bells or boughs of holly adorn hallways, give a thought to those who struggle to feed their families throughout the year. Like Jenny says, '

"All of us live here together. We share the same air, the same ground. Our bodies operate the same whether we have a million dollars or just a couple. Some of us have better haircuts, nicer houses, newer cars or cooler gadgets, but deep down...way down where it really matters...

we aren't so different. We want our kids to be healthy and happy and have full tummies. We want a roof over our heads, a warm place to sleep. We want to earn our keep, to be productive members of society. We all want to get through the day, close our eyes and then face the next one with hope and optimism. 

And sometimes, dammit...sometimes we want quinoa. "

So dig deep, donate what you can to your local food bank or monetary donations to No Kid Hungry

I'm ever so grateful that throughout my life, even though my bank account most of the time is running on fumes, thank God our bellies are never are.