IT’S THE MOOOOOOST, WONDERFUL TIIIIIIIME OF THE YEAAAAAAAR!!!!!!
IT’S OUR FIFTH ANNUAL HOLIDAY HANDS!!!!!
As we start our project this year, I thought it would be fun to look back on how Holiday Hands started. Here’s an excerpt from the 2011 post I wrote to launch this idea.
I was watching a news story about the economy recently and there were many families talking about how they were going to have a hard time buying gifts for their children this year. Some said that having their usual Christmas dinner was not an option, because they didn’t have the money for the turkey and the stuffing and the yummy desserts. Some said they were worried about paying the heat bill during the holidays. One man said he just wanted to buy his wife a little necklace, a little something to show her how much her work at home meant to him, but he couldn’t. There just wasn’t any extra. None. All of this made me want to stick the fork I was holding directly into my eye.
Then I started thinking about how there are probably many of YOUR FAMILIES in these situations, and that made me want to put my fork down and start brainstorming. Because no way. Not on our watch. We might not be able to fix everything, but we can do some things. We can acknowledge each other’s needs, hear them, and then help each other in little ways, because we belong to each other.
I’d rather my kids have three holiday gifts and your kids have three holiday gifts, than my kids have six gifts and your kids have no gifts. That’s the bottom line here, for me. And I bet it is for you, too. I think I know you well enough to know that you agree.
I figure that everyone reading this has a need this holiday.
Some of us don’t have enough this year. These folks need a hand putting food on the table and buying gifts for their kids.
Some of us have a little extra this year. These folks need to reach out to other families and share, in order to wake themselves up and connect and really experience what the holidays mean.
And some of us have just enough. These folks need to sit back and witness some miracles, to keep believing in people and love.
We all have needs. When we don’t share our needs, out of pride or fear of rejection, we deprive other people of fulfilling their needs. Sometimes we need to receive and sometimes we need to give. Seasons change. So please decide which type of person you are this year, and participate accordingly.
That’s how it started…with a little idea and a lot of love. And now Holiday Hands has evolved into a program that has served thousands of families over the years. It’s MAGIC.
Last year on match day we met the needs of 400 families. We met the needs of 400 families in three and a half hours. Here is just one of the notes we received that day. This just about sums it up:
Every year I spend December desperate and bitter and shameful and so sad, because the commercials are on and the Christmas cards come in, and we have nothing. My husband left and I’m working so hard but I have just enough to feed them. I’m so grateful for that. My kids eat. But they don’t get gifts. So we avoid everything Christmas. My kids are strong about it, but we all dread the holidays, alone and together. But this year. This year I started reading this blog, Momastery. A friend sent it to me. I read it after work when I get lonely. It makes me laugh and cry and feel less lonely. And so I went on a limb and asked Together Rising for help. And somehow- now- it’s the morning of November 12 and my kids are getting Christmas. Somehow, each of them has a brand new toy on the way. One woman is sending wrapping paper. My babies’ gifts will be wrapped. And there will be tags on the top of each gift that say: Love, Mom. I’m not going to say they’re from Santa. I’m going to say they’re from me. Because they are. I feel brave that I asked for help. And because I want to see their faces when they see that their mom has provided them gifts.
I have ten dollars in my pocket right now and I’m going to the dollar store to buy some cards and some lights before I pick up my kids. We are going to decorate tonight. We are going to send out cards. I am so proud of my little family. We are a family and we deserve to celebrate. Strangers proved that to me today. I will never forget. Thank you.
This is what we did, and what we’re going to do again.
Let’s get started.
Today is the day for folks who need a little extra to post their needs. If you know someone who might need this program – forward it to them. We are HERE FOR THEM. If you have a little extra to give this year or you know some folks who do, pleasepleaseplease mark your calendar to meet us back here on Tuesday, November 17 to review the requests and find your family match for this holiday season.
PLEASE READ THESE GUIDELINES. THEY ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER THIS YEAR:
First: Please read and reread and rereread the instructions before posting questions.
Second: Starting in 2013, we set a cap of $100 on each request (per family) in order to be able to help even more families. HOLIDAY HANDS is the time when strangers help other strangers provide holiday cheer for their families. It is specifically designed to help provide for the holiday needs and wants of families so that they can put the funds they would have spent on gifts toward other needs.
Third: Requests may be submitted to us for a limited time. You will receive an confirmation email once you submit a request—please be sure to check your SPAM e-mail folder. We will keep submissions open until we reach our Holiday Hands capacity (which could happen in a matter of hours or days). Requests will not automatically be posted when submitted and just because a request was submitted does not mean it will necessarily be part of our Holiday Hands program. Rather, we will be collecting and reviewing requests and then we will post the final, approved requests that will be part of Holiday Hands on Tuesday, November 17.
Fourth: Every year, after Holiday Hands is shut down, Together Rising continues to receive requests for holiday miracles all the way up to the end of the month. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution directly to Together Rising to allow us to help those families, please click here to donate.
WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER. LET’S PROVE IT. To list your needs and become part of our Holiday Hands 2015 Miracle, click here now:
G and Together Rising
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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