I went to church with my wife at Thanksgiving and on the way out came across the Angels Afoot display in the main foyer just beneath the Prodigal Son Mural. Angels Afoot is a program that helps gather and distribute presents for underprivileged children or who are in foster care and will have nothing during the holiday season. I have volunteered with the group before as a delivery person and was deeply moved because my delivery was to a place that shelters children who have had to be removed from homes for their own safety. The counselors I met were so grateful for the help because they really had no other way of contributing as far as presents. I still am amazed at this sad state of affairs but it's good that we have agencies to step in and do a very difficult but necessary job. It's always makes me think of helping out when it is not expected because more often than not there really is no hope for some folks.
Several large Christmas trees are set up by the desk with hundreds of "tags" indicating the wish list of a child the gender and age. It's very simple, you just look over the tags and pick out a couple that you would like to donate and take them to the sign up desk. We were just browsing and then really got into the spirit. I found tags for two boys, one age 8 who just wanted Pirate stuff (just my kind of kid) and another age 14 who wanted movies passes (another perfect match). My wife found two girls who wanted scrapbooking items and as she and my daughter are avid scrappers that fit the bill. Later at home our daughter surprised us and showed up with four more tags so we decided to go out that afternoon and pick up ALL of our items.
I don't know about you but I have not been to a Toys R Us in ages and it was daunting as well as fascinating and also a lot of fun. I had the hardest time finding Pirate stuff in between wandering around and looking at all the cool toys. I have to admit I played with more than a few! My wife, daughter and I basically looked at all the possibilities and tried to pick the best items we thought would be perfect. It was pretty funny as we discussed the different aspects of each toy considered. Hula Hoops, Pirate ships with or without extra cannons, puzzles, Barbies, Transformer voice altering helmets? I will say that we did go over budget without it being completely obvious. At home all the presents were wrapped along with two huge boxes of scrapping materials from the mammoth warehouse collection that my wife and daughter have assembled over the years. The next Sunday, we brought our presents wrapped and bowed to the church foyer for delivery to the different children all over Austin.
I know this is only a small thing but I think that during the holidays we are encouraged to think of others who are not as well off in our communities. This year more than ever, there are so many in need. Millions have lost their homes in foreclosure and many more will in the future. The unemployment rate is at 10% and we still have thousands of troops overseas whose families worry daily about their well being. Now I am not some sort of bleeding heart but those of us who have prospered do owe it to our communities to try and help in some small way. I did not do as well as I wanted to in my business this year but I don't have anything to gripe about...it's all gravy and who am I to whine? While writing this post I have had constant interruptions from UPS and FedEx employees delivering a stream of goodies and it's obvious that we are truly living the good life in Austin, Texas. If you have read my blog in the past you know I am an ardent supporter of several charitable organizations here in Austin including, Austin Habitat for Humanity , Mobile Loaves & Fishes , Austin Blood & Tissue Center and Salvation Army Austin . No matter where you live, just look around and you will have no problem finding something to do! Don't just think about it...do something!
If you think you cannot afford to help in some small way then you will never really have enough...will you? Helping Others is a Gift You Give to Yourself!