Last week I posted about our elementary school's Snow Buddy program. Despite being finacially burdened and having our own personal issues with bills and the lack of enough finances to cover everything due at once, we made the decision to help this child in our local community.
#50 is a sixth grade girl...that's all we know about her other than her wishlist of items on the backside. I don't know a single thing demographic about her otherwise, and yet somehow I know everything I need to and then some from her list.
She is creative, she is a dreamer, she wants to inspire others, she wants to feel comfortable in her own skin, she is learning to be independent and yet is still just a child, she wants to be successful...and she wants to show just who she really is inside. She wants to be accepted for who she is as well, rather than having to conform to society's view of who she should be. This girl is me at 11 years old.
The two words on this list that caught my attention, tugged at my heart, and refused to let me walk past the tree without taking this snowman with me was "sewing machine." The socioeconomics of our county leave more to be desired...we fall into the poverty category ourselves, we're legally homeless, we depend on what little state assistance we receive to have groceries each month, we scrap by most weeks, we have debts in collections, the list of chaos in our lives could continue for many more pages...and yet with all those reasons for why I could have walked away and said someone else is better off and can be her Santa...my heart couldn't keep walking.
I wanted to give this girl something so much more than a gift...I wanted to give her an opportunity, a hand-up, a message that says "I believe in you and your dreams." To show her that someone in this world not only supports her, but her talent and desire to make a change in her own life that will help her feel that she is not only worth something, but that she can achieve greatness. Instead of buying a toy, or just fulfilling the basics of clothing...we fulfilled her wishlist in a way she will never have expected.
This is originally where we stopped, and then I was reminded that it wouldn't do her much good to have the machine if she had nothing to go with it. So we compiled a sewing kit with all the basic sewing tools (seam ripper, bobbins, thread, scissors, measuring tape, machine cover which the machine is inside in this picture, and a pin cushion with straight pins, etc), added in a sewing book for children, and a small pile of fabric to help get her started. The kids wanted to add in the craft items and drawing items as well so those are there too. This is the one time a year each of these children who participated in the Snow Buddy program are allowed to dream...as big as they want...and while I'm sure we did more than what was "necessary" in the eyes of many, we did what our hearts were called to do.
For us, this is what Christmas is about...and this is what matters the most. Each year we find a way to give to someone else, usually a child or a family through our church, the Salvation Army Angel Tree, or something along those lines. We don't do it to brag about how awesome we are, but rather to show our children that there is always something we can give to others...even in our worst times. And when we give in our times of struggle, we inspire others to do so as well.
That is the purpose of my thoughts tonight...which are scattered, but I want to inspire others to look for ways to help those in your own community this holiday season. There's a week until Christmas, but there are hundreds of ways you can still help. My children will be spending Christmas day this year with their father...they leave a couple days beforehand. Instead of being home and wishing they were here, we'll be making visits with families that have received gowns who are in the hospital (weather and lack of illnesses permitting). They are a part of my family, just as much as my own kiddos are.