Dec 21

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The Santa Fund

Today at the newspaper I got to go out on a special delivery (as I typed that Mr. McFeely from Mr. Rogers popped into my head…”Speedy delivery, speedy delivery!” I used to love that!!!)

Anyway…back to the subject… 🙂

Each year the fire department in St. Johnsbury, Vt., collects donations and then distributes them to families in the area. Each family gets a box of food and a frozen turkey for Christmas dinner.  If there are children in the house, they also get a box of toys sorted by age and gender.

Today was delivery day and I got to go out on a delivery route with one of the trucks.  For the first time I was an embedded reporter!  🙂

Loading a truck

I took pictures for an hour while they loaded trucks and then we were out on the road for about another four hours.  The truck I was on made about 80 stops.  It was a lovely experience.

As we traveled around to different parts of town, I had brief conversations with a few of the recipients.  To each one I asked the same question: “What does this delivery from the Santa Fund mean for you?” and almost every time I got exactly the same answer: “Everything.”

Next truck!

About 90 minutes before we were done, I started to get hungry.  Between stops in the truck, I was dreaming about the lunch that I had waiting in the newsroom.  Then I started feeling guilty: here are all these people that are struggling to make a holiday they can be proud of for their kids – many of them without the means to make a holiday dinner – and I’m frustrated because my lunch is delayed by an hour?  It felt so out of proportion.

So I followed the thought a little further:

Why am I feeling badly? Because even though I don’t have a lot of money, I’ve got good food to eat and there are people who don’t have enough to eat.

Should I stop eating because other people don’t have enough? That is clearly an absurd solution. If I punish myself for having what others don’t, that makes me poor, miserable, and unable to do the work I’ve been put here to do.  It also doesn’t put any food into their mouths.

With gratitude and respect to the firemen of St. Johnsbury, Vt.

It would seem to me that the only answer that makes sense is to keep doing what I’m doing: making the best life that I can for myself.  It doesn’t help anyone if I deprive myself.  But if I keep pushing toward greater levels of happiness, productiveness, prosperity, etc., I’ve got more to share.  And I can share it in a more widespread way. The more resources I have, the more people I can touch.

I need to follow the example I saw today from the firefighters – they do their jobs, accept their paychecks, and then donate a day of their time to spread the wealth to others.

It was a good day.

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

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  1. Penny

    When I was in girl scouts we would participate in a similar program by “adopting” one of the families. We would put together all of the non-perishable food items they would need for the holiday meal, and buy a supermarket gift certificate for a turkey and the perishable items. We would also get a list of the kids’ ages and genders and buy them toys. It was such a good experience, and we really felt like we connected with them as we picked out their gifts from Santa.

    In high school our band and chorus would participate in the delivery portion, though I don’t know if it was the same program or just something similar. We would play and sing Christmas music as the family received their gifts.

    You’ve reminded me that I need to find ways to get involved in those things again. It was so easy when I was involved in organizations that already had the framework in place to help others, but now that I’m more on my own I haven’t sought out those opportunities.

  2. Leah Carey

    Thanks Penny! I know exactly what you mean about it being easy if there’s a framework in place. For years I’ve been saying I wanted to work at a soup kitchen on Christmas (being Jewish, Christmas is always a weird day for me), but never did anything about it. This year I finally signed myself up! 🙂 I just checked out your blog roundup – what a great bunch of posts!

  3. Lisa

    It’s good to be able to do good for others. Sometimes we need a hand-up and sometimes we can help give a hand- up. We are never to old or young to do something worthwhile. Christmas is learning about giving of ourselves, our time, and our resouces to those in need; learning compassion and doing something about it whenever we can and wherever we are. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a wonderful 2012!

    1. Leah Carey

      Thanks Lisa, and the same to you!

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