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Rethinking the holidays-dont just give stuff!

November 1, 2021

“I already have three turkeys, I want a ham!” was the angry response of a community member, when she called and asked me for a ham and I told her that we did not have any, but that I knew a place where she can get a turkey. I have to admit I was quite frustrated with her, but also recognized that we have created some of this attitude and dependency.

As we head into the holiday season we all become more generous. We help people with Thanksgiving meals, Christmas baskets filled with goodies, hand out Christmas gifts and do coat drives. I have always been amazed at the generosity during this time of year. But there is a saying, that if you give a person a something once, they are thankful, give more often and you create a dependency.

Over the last generations we have seen that in action. Some people don’t plan on purchasing thanksgiving meals or Christmas gifts any longer, because they know someone will give it to them. That creates a very unhealthy relationship, because what we intended to help a family can actually harm them in the long run.

Can we rethink our generosity with the people in mind we want to serve? What if we build relationships so that we know what people really want and need? What if we provide a cooked meal for the family and give mom a break? Maybe offer babysitting? Or just take some time to have a cup a coffee? Many people you want to serve receive food stamps and could purchase their meals, but maybe they need help with another bill that needs to get covered.

The important part is to get to know the people, build a good relationship and enough trust to be able to find out their real needs.

At LifeLine we have a “Christmas Store” - we want people to have Christmas with dignity. So, we get new gifts donated (no electronics and no violent games or toys) and then create a “store” for our community members where they can purchase a toy for 20% of the value (so a $20 gift will cost them $4). This gives dignity to the parents/caregivers, lets them choose the toys they feel best for their children, wrap their gifts and give the gift to their children. No more shame!!!! The proceeds go into our after-school kids programs, so customers really get to bless others as well.

When you are generous this year, rethink where your money goes. Maybe think about how your money can make the greatest impact. There are many great non profits in the area, ask them what would help them to keep their doors open so they can continue their work. Ask your local church what would help them to be benevolent.

Or you can donate a gift to our Christmas with Dignity Store :) Don’t like shopping? Send us the money and will shop for the gift. Our staff just LOVE that assignment!

THANK YOU for your generosity, no matter where you give. It is a blessing time of year!

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