People and pets will go hungry this Christmas. It’s sad that in the midst of all our plenty, there are still some who won’t get enough to eat. Why not be a blessing this Christmas? If you want to offer help and make a difference, here are some concrete things you can do.
Offer help for People
You can offer help in a concrete way. Instead of stocking up on cranberry sauce and stuffing, here are some items people need every day of the year. Donate these and you help people long after the holidays are over. Once you determine a place to donate, consider offering some of these items.
1) For people on food stamps and other assistance, a food allowance is provided, but it doesn’t cover diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, or cleaning supplies. When it’s on sale, stock up and donate some of the extra.
2) Personal hygiene products are vital. Consider picking up small travel sizes (handy for those who are homeless).
3) One of the biggest needs is for baby food and formula. Getting the dry powder to mix is great, and less expensive. If you get coupons for these items, stock up when they go on sale. Offer help personally if you know someone with a baby by bringing coupons, offering to drive them to the store, shop for them, or even to just sit down and talk. New parents are often exhausted. Having someone offer help might make a big difference.
4) Healthy snacks for children to pack in lunches, such as granola bars, milk boxes, juice boxes, and fresh fruit like apples and oranges. These keep well.
5) Salt, pepper (especially the type in small shakers), mayo, ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, sriracha, salsa, and other condiments such as salad dressing.
6) Donate non-perishable proteins. Pick up cans of tuna, chicken, ham, beans, jars of peanut butter, or almond butter.
A site in the Atlanta area for helping families is Papa’s Pantry. They let families come in and shop at no cost for what they need in a small store of donated items. The site is always in need of donations. They also teach workshops such as budgeting, job-finding skills, resume creation, and how to coupon. Knowledge and skill help break the cycle of need.
Offer help for Pets
When people are in tough financial straits, they sometimes have to surrender their animals to a shelter because they can’t take care of them anymore. That’s so sad! Do you have a pet? When you shop for your own, grab a few extra cans of dog and cat food. Even one can of food will make a difference to a hungry animal. Local shelters love getting extra food. They can use old blankets and towels too. Call your local shelter and ask what they need most. After a natural disaster such as a wildfire, flood, or earthquake, consider contacting one of the service agencies that help homeless pets. One in the Atlanta area is the Homeless Pets Foundation.
I want to give a shout out to Rob’s Rescues near Atlanta, GA. http://www.robsrescues.com/ Rob writes a column every month for four magazines in the Cherokee and Cobb county areas north of Atlanta. He profiles one dog and one cat each month from both the Cobb County Animal Shelter and Cherokee the County Animal Shelter and tries to get them adopted. He does pet food drives in local businesses and animal hospitals, and gives pet food to people who can’t afford to feed their pets. He has done interviews with people like the Gwinnett County Sheriff about the Jail Dogs Program. He’s been doing this since May 2015. The unusual thing about Rob is that he is still in elementary school! Just goes to show that to help others, you only have to be willing.
I urge you to click the Rob’s Rescues link, visit his site, and help him accomplish his mission of feeding pets.
A story about the spirit of giving
When I wrote A Romance for Christmas, I wanted to show the spirit of giving. This story of a young widow with a child at Christmas will leave you in happy tears. Here’s a peek.
The peephole showed a policeman in a crisp black uniform, wearing one of those Smokey Bear hats. It took Dara back to the night Jack had died. She unlatched the door and opened it an inch, dread tightening her chest.
“Oh, my God. Is something wrong, Officer?”
“No, ma’am.” He removed his hat. His smile showed sparkling white teeth and a shock of bright blond hair that fell over his brow. “I’m Scott Gregori. My daughter Susan and your Christine are in the same preschool class. I don’t suppose you remember me. I was at your husband’s funeral last year.”
In a flash, she remembered him.
Their daughters’ preschool was part of a small church. The school had sent a notice that the mother of one of their students had passed away, along with suggested ways to discuss the death of a loved one with children. Dara had attended his wife’s funeral to pay her respects. When Jack died, only about a month later, Officer Gregori had come to pay his.
“Oh, yes. I remember. Please, won’t you come in?” She opened the door wider.
“I brought you and Christine something.” He bent down and picked up an oversized box before stepping inside. “This morning, I heard about your accident, and I thought– Well, maybe you could use some help with Christmas presents for your daughter.” He added, “If you wouldn’t mind.”
Dara shut the door behind him. “It’ll make Christine happy, and that’s what counts. You’re kind to do this.”
He waved off her thanks with a quick gesture and set down the box. “All of us at the station chipped in and I went shopping. We figured money was tight so we wanted you to have this.” He handed her a fat envelope.
She opened it, gasped and covered her mouth. A stack of paper money filled it. “Oh. Oh, my– my goodness.”
He was smiling. “We all have families, and we help each other when things–” He swallowed. “Anyway, you know how it is in a town this size. We watch out for each other. The crew at the station and I wanted you to have that. And don’t try to refuse.” He set a hand over hers. “All of us have been there. Use it however you need.”
Shaking, she refolded the envelope with extreme care. Words wouldn’t come. She slid it into her pocket. “Thank you,” she whispered, tears blurring her vision.
It’s what happens next that begins a Christmas Dara will never forget.
Read A Romance for Christmas
Genre Sweet contemporary romance, holiday romance
Book heat level: PG
This sweet feel-good holiday romance reaffirms all you love about Christmas. It’s Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves was lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she never expected to get.
Publisher: Romance Lives Forever Books
This book is $1.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited
4.2 stars on Amazon wih 33 ratings
Special offer: buy the Amazon print version as a gift, and you get the Kindle version free to keep.
Amazon print http://amzn.to/2ceQsAk