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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Giving This Season

This is from an email that I received from Chris Cade
First UU in Houston did something similar. The kids would make care packages (plastic bags with water, tuna snack packs, crackers, chocolate, and a list of assistance sites and phone numbers). You would keep these packages in the back seat of your car and hand them out when a person was standing on the corner asking for assistance. I think that I am going to do this, especially during the holiday season, and probably into the new year. 

Six years ago I did something that seemed so small to me, but had a huge impact on others (as well as myself). That one single event, that one random act of kindness, has snowballed into a family tradition that now nearly a dozen people (and more now) participate in. This has become my favorite gift of the holiday season.

What is that tradition?

It began when I read in the newspaper that the most needed item by the homeless was not food or water. It was clean socks.

I thought to myself, "How can I help?"

Christmas day the answer dawned on me. My fiance at the time and I went to the supermarket that was open and bought a dozen socks. Then we noticed other things we couldn't ignore:



Bags of chips...

Energy bars...

Juice boxes...

And my personal favorite...


We put 2+2 together and added paper bags to that list. The result: care packages that we would personally give to the homeless.

Later that morning, we drove around downtown San Jose, California. We looked for people we could give our care packages to. Eventually we found a park where many homeless came together on Christmas. There, we gave away all of our care packages.

I remember seeing a man digging through the trash. He had just pulled out a half-eaten burrito. I walked up to him, handed him the care package and wished him a Merry Christmas.

That Christmas experience was more significant than I had realized at the time. I shared my story with my family, and ever since then they have joined me in a new family tradition.

Each year we create more and more care packages. My family goes to St. James Park in San Jose and distributes them on Christmas. Last year, there were 10 of us – of all ages – who went and served.

And when I think back on Christmas I am reminded of the wonderful gifts I’ve received over the years...

The gift of family.

The gift of presence.

The gift of good health.

And my favorite gift of all:

The deep realization that giving is my favorite gift of all.

Your Partner In Transformation,
Chris Cade
Liberate Your Life

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