Published On: Fri, Jan 6th, 2017

So Refreshing Knowing There is Hope for the Needy

One of the finest things about the Christmas season was the generosity it stirs in all of us.

The economy was not kind to many last year and it was heartwarming to see so many people generously reach deep into their pockets to help others.

Their acts of selflessness and goodwill, which was evident throughout our community recently, made the holiday season magical.

While enroute, to an important gathering in town where four of my mentees were scheduled to speak (it was part of their prize as winners in an oratorical contest), I received a call asking for “a huge favor.” Someone had encountered a family of four that was destitute – no food, little money and no toys for the children. Four days before Christmas and not even a tree.

I promised the caller I’d get back to her shortly. After verifying the story, I fired off an email to a few people in my immediate circle.

Three minutes after hitting the send button I received the text, “I have $400 let’s take them shopping.” Another read, “Get them whatever they want up to $100 and let me know. I will give it back to you.” A third wrote, “I will take care of all the toys for them.”

My body jumped into overdrive mode while my brain was still at the crossroad. I started thinking; ‘I really want to be with the kids because this is a big deal. But with four days before Christmas, this could be a test of a lifetime from God.’

One of the donors and I arranged to meet the woman at Costco. She was nervous, to say the least. But we assured her she was in good hands. We shopped and two shopping carts later the woman broke down in tears.

“I did not expect this,” she said that she walked through the door with two shopping carts. “This is unbelievable. Thank you.”
To some, this was surprising. To me, this was all in a day’s work. I receive anywhere between two and three calls like this each week. I am able to address most with a simple phone call while some end up being long-term projects.

I was quite impressed by the generosity of the people who offered to help this family. In a community where the need is as great as it is, I bear witness that there are many people with big caring hearts especially during the season of giving; people who still believe in reaching back and helping out those less fortunate.

Later that night, I received another text: “I just checked the email and was wondering how could I help?”

I responded: “Thank you, issue addressed within minutes after email went out.”

That’s the joy of being a part of this community. In times of need you can always depend on someone to come to your rescue.
I am proud to say that in my 26 years of working in the trenches with the poorest of the poor in south Palm Beach County, of all the times I have asked for a favor for this community, I have only been told No once. And as the good word says, sometimes the Lord answers with Yes, No or Not now. (Coincidentally, about 15 years later, that No was recently changed to a Yes).
A text from a dear friend, who happens to be the supervisor of this woman, captures the essence of the gesture best: “You all are such a blessing and amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you have done to bless this lady and her family. This has literally made my Christmas and the rest of my year. I am so touched by that level of generosity.”
I spent 30 years in the United States Navy Reserve helping people and 24 years reporting the news at one of our local dailies helping people along the way. I must say neither is more rewarding than what I find myself doing these days – helping the most vulnerable children and their families in Palm Beach County.

It is so refreshing knowing that there is hope for those who are in need as our community will always come to their rescue.

May there be gladness in the hearts of all and we wish you, our readers and families, a blessed and bountiful year.

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