Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Comes in pretty handy around here, Bub.

You have no idea how many times a day I swear while I am at work at the church. I still find that the 16 hours I am supposed to work is never enough to accomplish all I have to do, and while I am trying to cram all my tasks in, the phone must ring seven times with people needing something else.

This is when I swear.

So you can imagine my pretty language when the door buzzer went off today. I am trying to get the newsletter out, which is already late, as before a parishioner did it and now it's my job and HAVE I MENTIONED HOW OVERWHELMED I AM?!

"Yes?" I pressed the intercom, trying to sound nice.

"Ma'am, I'm here because I need help."

There was a man at the door of the church; he was injured. He has been unable to work due to his injury and cannot pay his bills this month. I went to the door and talked with him; the church has a plan in place to help people in need, which I told him about.

Then he mentioned he had three little kids, all under the age of seven. "What about Christmas?" I couldn't help but ask. "I don't know," he told me, looking down.

You guys, I want to help him. I'm certain his bills will be paid, but what about those three kids on Christmas morning? What about a tree? Decorations?

There are all sorts of reasons not to help: I do not know his whole story, some government agency could be assisting him, what if he's a drug dealer... But you know what? I hate it when people assume the worst about somebody because they're in need. I think the RIGHT thing to do is help somehow.

We do not have lots of money. We have a little savings from this year of not spending, but I am keeping that cash locked away, no ifs ands or buts. But what if we save a little cash between now and Christmas? I have a textbook I'm proofing for 25 bucks an hour. What if I took half my earnings from that?

I have the guy's phone number, do you think I could call him and ask what his wife and kids would like for Christmas? What would you do if you were me?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Most churches have an "adopt a family" program for Christmas as do many social agencies in the community--check it out.

Linda .. the Aussie one! said...

Did you mention this to the Pastor/Rector/Priest/Minister/head bloke of the church? Perhaps he can meet the family and help decide what the needs are. Perhaps he can then open the issues needing addressing to the congregation. The thought of a child waking up to nothing on Christmas is a terrible one. Good luck June .. you're a sweetheart.

Kelly Garrett said...

I would try to get him hooked up with a charity that does toy distribution rather than try to take it on yourself.

M.I. Susan Harris said...

I think you should adopt this family for Christmas. I would certainly send some money to you and you can either pass along the cash or you can use it to buy gifts and food for the family. Find out how old the kids are and if they are boys or girls. You would have fun shopping for them since you won't be shopping for others this Christmas.

Let me know if you do something like this and I'll send some $$$.

For those of you who might be wondering why I am so quick to offer cash, I have known June for many many years. I am one of the the Seattle roomates that did all the yard work oh-so-long-ago. (I still laugh to think of her going to a garden club.) She may not be the best at yard work, but she is as generous as she is funny.

Anonymous said...

You live in a small town right? Ask around, you should get answers about whether or not he is a crazy meth cooker living off the government. Small town America doesn't believe in privacy. But also you will probably find out what they need, what their kids need, and who else might be able to help.

June Cutoff Cash said...

The thing is, I do not feel it's appropriate for me to tell people his name. It seems like it'd be an invasion of his privacy. But my boss will know. Plus, I met the guy, and I knew from crazy meth cookers -- I lived in LA, for heaven's sake. I did not get any sort of vibe like that. PLUS, even if he IS, that doesn't mean his kids don't deserve something.

I called the one charity in town and am waiting for a reply about what they provide at Christmas. So we shall see.

Burbanmom said...

How about organizing a little mini "toy drive" yourself? Maybe the kids at Marvin Gardens' school could help out. Or those nice gardening ladies. Aren't they the charity-type?

Good luck, June. If it just comes down to you, please let us all know so we can help :-)

Bronwyn said...

Wow. This is a tough one. I'd be prone to merge all of the great suggestions here together. See if Marvin can help out with his students, that's a nice idea. See about the local charities, also a great ideas.

And then I know that if it were me, I'd be so upset from meeting him personally and worried about the whole situation, that I'd go buy the kids all something. Also, the parents if the funds were sufficient. I'd wrap it all up and deliver it anonymously. Did you get the genders/ages of the kids? If they are girls, I might have some gently used toys that could be appropriate, depending on the age.

Bronwyn. said...

Oh, and June? How is it that the jobs that sound the least stressful often end up being the most? I've had Teamsters screaming at me, things exploding at work, and all other kinds of supposedly stressful things, but nothing compares to the time I was a check out girl at A&P while I was in college. Oy. Still have nightmares about that.

JennaG said...

Perhaps your church is like ours in that they will do a little investigating to make sure this guy is legitimately in need. The pastor should be able to tell you if he really does need the help. If you are feeling led to help this family, and he is for real, then I say you should bless their family. It doesn't have to be huge--a Christmas dinner and a gift for everyone-- That is what life is supposed to be all about--loving and giving--especially at Christmas. And I agree that we shouldn't assume somebody is a 'loser' just because they are in need at the moment. As a church secretary you are going to become so much more aware of the needs in your community--that is for sure.

Becky said...

For the last several years, my family has found a family in need and given them Christmas. (All the food for dinner, toys for each kid, some presents for the adults, a Bible.) We wrap it all up and then comes the fun part. On Christmas Eve we do the annual Ding Dong Ditch. We drop it off on their doorstep, hit the doorbell and hide around the corner to watch. Not to get totally Tiny Tim on you, but this tradition far outweighs any gift we've ever received. Seriously. If you take this family on yourselves, whether you decide to do it anonymously or not, you WON'T be disappointed.

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

Hats off, sister, for some compassion in an otherwise jaded world. I'd take all these suggestions and try them one-by-one. I don't think any kid should wake up Christmas morning without something to open. Christmas isn't about presents, but tell that to a six-year-old.

Let us know how we can help!

Anonymous said...

I did this for a family once. I bought a tree the day before Christmas Eve for $5.00. I had some extra lights and the kids made their own decoration for it. I bought presents for the kids and I bought them some food.The kids didn't have much to open Christmas morning but at least they had something...and they were very happy.

It would be great if the church will help you.

Anonymous said...

I was going to suggest that Marvin's students help out as well. I teach also and we "adopt" a child for Christmas. I can't BELIEVE the pile of stuff we collect (as well as money, that I match and buy MORE gifts with) Just an idea!

Anonymous said...

Christmas is all about giving. You already know the answer.

jtcosby said...

I am going to tell you what I would do and you go from there ;) I would do it. I would take any money I could find and I would put it towards this family. I just found out Target gives gift receipts and they are not allowed to get anything but product and cannot get cash...so that is what I would do. By the way, I think you rock!!!

jtcosby said...

ps...I can send 25 dollars.

Sid Leavitt said...

Well, June, you've gotten a lot of good advice from a lot of good friends. And now, whatever you decide to do, you're going to be a good friend to this man. Because from the way I read it, you already are.

And maybe he will be a good friend to someone else someday.

June Cutoff Cash said...

jtcosby, I will take that 25 bucks and let you know what I did with it! I already have a couple hundred from Master Instructor Susan Harris and her boss, too.

I am going to adopt these people myself and not hope some other overburdened charity takes care of them. This is not a large town, and a lot of people are poor.

And the Marvin Gardens' kids was a good idea, but they are all pretty bad off too, so he's not holidng out a lot of hope there.

jt, I will try to email you, but if I can't please email me and I'll give you my address!!

Linda .. the Aussie one! said...

June a suggestion - it would be great if you could try to find out what they need before spending the money on toys etc. It would be a shame if they had a brand new expensive doll but really needed a new pair of shoes or a winter coat that isn't too small. Then I am sure you could buy them a nice new toy with the remaining money. Good luck!

June Cutoff Cash said...

I've already called them. They are getting me a list tomorrow because I told them I did not know from kid gifts.

Natalie said...

You are an inspiration and truly show the meaning of Christmas in your actions. Thank you.

I think what you're doing for this family is wonderful. My children and I were "adopted" for Christmas once by a family at our church right after my divorce when finances were grim. Now that our financial situation is better, we donate our time and money to others throughout the year, but especially during the holidays.

RipeMango said...

Good job, it seems like you're well on your way to organizing something for the family.

Just remember, karma is a...well, I guess in this case she'll be a pleasant caller.

Nancy said...

June, I'm so proud of you. I know you're following your heart and I really admire that. I'm going to send you some $$ for this family too. Thank god for people like you!

Your Pal from MA said...

June,

If you decide to help this family yourself, I will also contribute some $$$...Perhaps the Salvation Army can help? I know they do wonderful things for families in need here in our town.

Your a peach, my dear.

xoxo,
Your pal from MA

M.I. Susan Harris said...

I put the checks in the mail today. I asked around and was able to raise $350. You know these kids are the same age as my two girls. I just can't imagine them not having presents to open on Christmas. How would I ever explain to them why Santa didn't come to our house? I'm glad you're doing this. I appreciate being able to be part of it.

Charlie said...

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in you June. What a generous thing to do. If you need any help let us know.

Burbanmom said...

June,

Could you post a paypal address in case anyone wants to donate?

Thanks!

Guilty Secret said...

I would be cautious of getting personally involved and see how you can help him through the church.

Tee said...

June, having been involved for years with situations like this through our church, a word of caution, do not give that gentleman/family cash! If there is a need of a bill being paid, you pay the bill (light bill, gas bill, etc.). Find out the needs of his children and wife and you purchase the items needed, as suggested previously, shoes, winter coat, clothing, etc. A family in need can alway use groceries so they can have a nice Christmas dinner. Suggestions for a southern dinner, turkey, self-rising corn meal for dressing, yams or sweet potatoes, regular postatoes, fresh oranges and canned pineapple tidbits for ambrosia, greenbeans, corn, flour for baking cookies/pies, pecans for pie. Just some suggestions, my dear. God bless you for taking on this project. This will bless you more than the family you are about to bless! Keep us posted.