Excerpt from 2013 Newsletter (for this article and others from the 2013 newsletter, click here: Winter 2013 Newsletter)
I’ll never forget my first Christmas working at Monarch Place. I was tasked with overseeing the organization, distribution, and packing of gifts for the children and teens. Not only did most of the volunteers know more about our task than I did, but I didn’t come close to understanding the value of what we were doing! It was hard not to feel like the various toys, books, and stocking stuffers were trivial and superfluous in contrast to the crises these families were facing. What’s more is there never seemed like there would be enough to fairly provide for each of the children.
Imagine my surprise and humility the first time I saw a child receive a gift. His eyes lit up as if he couldn’t believe what he saw. That was before he even opened it! I have no idea what Christmas used to look like for that boy, but in one gesture, we had managed to communicate so much more than my old pragmatic self believed possible. As that boy continued to pull out item after item – even though each was quite small – the look on his face said that he finally felt safe, loved, and like there might be more to this whole Christmas thing than what he used to know.
Every year we continue the worthwhile struggle to gather donated gifts for women and children. Unfortunately, we find that we rarely have gifts to give to the teenage boys, which only confirms their sense of isolation and lack of worth. If you want to have a significant impact in the life of somebody in need this Christmas, please learn from my mistakes. A gift goes a long way.
Averill – Children’s Support Worker