It’s usually around this time of year, these weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas that I widen my perspective a bit. Look at what I have. Forget about what I don’t have. Feel blessed with how good things are considering how very bad things could be.
I think a lot of people do that. You can’t have your family around you, putting ornaments on a tree or lighting candles or what not, and not look at them and go, “Lucky me.”
And that makes this a perfect time of year to give to the people who still might say “Lucky me!” while struggling to provide or obtain the necessities for living and happiness.
If you haven’t yet decided who might be worthy of your generous chairtable dollars this holiday season, I have two local organizations/drives that might be just the thing you were looking for:
1. 96.1 Stuff A Bus
Each year Mikey and Big Bob from 96.1 spend a week living in an RV in the Miracle Mile shopping center where they encourage Pittsburghers to swing by and drop off a new toy or two to be donated to the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots program. Some people show up with one toy, some with two or three and some stuff their cars with toys.
Last year Mikey and Bob stuffed just over 16 buses with toys, and due to the generous anonymous gift from a Burgher who handed them a $4,200 check and told them to go shopping for toys with it, this year promises to be the best yet.
Go to Target, Walmart, KMart, whatever, and buy some toys and take them down to Mikey and Big Bob at all hours of the day and night. Or if you prefer, check your local Walgreens for a big Stuff A Bus donation box and drop your toys in there.
An easy way to give a merry Christmas to a needy child.
2. Community Human Services
This is a local organization that I just love and was proud to support during their Rock the Streets event. CHS serves the area’s most needy families and individuals. They are trying to help 535 individuals or families during this holiday season by providing them each with a $25 gift. That’s not a number they just made up. That is how many Pittsburghers are requesting help.
You can help CHS in a few ways, but perhaps the easiest is by providing them with a gift card. A simple gift card!
I’ll let Sue Kerr explain why:
Many of the people we serve don’t often have the luxury of shopping for anything but the basics. A gift card (which many request) gives them a gift AND the gift of the shopping trip. It also gives us a chance to encourage them to socialize a bit, isolation being one of the biggest challenges for many of our program participants.
Any denomination is fine. A $5 Subway gift card gives someone a chance to “go out” for lunch. Giant Eagle has 140 different types of cards and we can use most of them. But our top list would be: Giant Eagle, Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Kohl’s. For teens: The Gap, Old Navy, Game Stop, Best Buy, Claire’s, Wet Seal. Restaurants: Eat n Park is the best for an affordable family meal, but also Applebee’s, Subway, McDonalds, and other places that are accessible by bus. We can also use cards to drug stores like Rite-Aid.
The sad thing is that most of our adults asked for the everyday basics we take for granted – bathroom towels, shaving cream, a new pair of slippers … the gift card gives them the dignity of picking out their own towels.
An easy way to do it is through Giant Eagle’s gift card program, which will also earn you double fuel perks! Give and get!
Or just go buy a gift card and drop it in the mail:
Community Human Services
374 Lawn Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Attn: Holiday Projects
So easy to do. Learn more here.
Do you ever do this? Are you ever behind someone in the grocery store and their shoes are torn and their face is drawn and they’re clearly watching the amount tick up and hoping they have the cash to pay for it? And they have a child with them? And you just say a quick prayer of blessing for them? I don’t mean to get religious on you, it’s just my habit when I encounter people who are clearly hurting for necessities. I can’t really afford to buy groceries for every person I see like that, and that hurts. If I was rich? Look out, world. But since I am not and maybe you aren’t either, this is a small way to throw your dollars in the pot to make a big impact on a lot of people like the ones who are counting their pennies at the check out line.
Pick one. Pick both. Go forth. Do good.