Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Gift of Giving

With the holidays in full bloom and presents being bought, wrapped, and given to family and friends, one gift that sometimes gets forgotten is the one to those in need. 

Especially with this rocky economy and people we know, and don't know, are out of work, it can be a tough time of year, especially for children who are without the sparkle, shine and glimmer of gifts. The same holds true for adults who are without as well and struggling to make ends meat and to put smiles on their kids faces with presents for them to open.

This week I wrote a blog post to kick off the Hanukkah holiday here and how it is a reminder of the blessings in our lives and not just the presents that we give and receive.  

I don't know why this year should be any different than past Hanukkah's, but this one opened my eyes even more than before to understanding the meaning of Tzedakah -- the gift of giving.  It's very possible that as I teach Sarah about her religion and help her to understand as she grows, I have become more aware, in tune and sensitive to what matters most and helping to pass on these traditions and teach her valuable lessons that she will witness and act on in the future.

I was raised to be kind and mindful of others and to give where possible to help others in need.  Therefore, it became natural for me as a young adult to volunteer my time and efforts at hospitals, kid-specific education activities and fundraising for health care causes near and dear to my heart.  

Interestingly, it just so happens that reaching out to those in need is central to being Jewish as well. It seems that I was born into this way of being and fully intend to pave the way for Sarah as we share in this process together of helping others where possible.  

Today I rummaged  through clothes, toys, books, and shoes and managed to pack up five garbage bags full. I then dropped them off and donated them to Good Will.  As much as it would be nice to sell these items via consignment, yard sales and other similar events, to make some money, it seemed brainless to me at this time of year to think otherwise.  What made this gift giving even more special was the incredible appreciation and respect of the staff receiving this donation for their patrons.

Good Will is one of many types of organizations to donate used belongings to help others. Consider local thrift shops, hospitals and houses of worship who often value these items  to share with those in need.

There are so many people without this year.  If we are able to give of our time, money or even old clothes and other belongings let's please consider what we can do to impact the lives of others including families with children who are without.

What do you like to do to give back and help others?

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