My family grew up in poverty. My mother was a maverick in the days when people didn’t get a divorce and women had difficulty finding work. She raised three girls with little in her cupboard but macaroni and hash browns. Almost every day, she cooked the noodles until they swelled enough to feed four people and she accompanied them with hash browns, broiled so sharp that they cut the roof of our mouths. We had no lard, no butter and no ketchup, but we grew up with true feelings of gratitude for the gifts bestowed upon us by a caring community.
At Christmas, we received hampers from the CKNW Orphans Fund and the New Westminster Fire Department. I still remember when the boxes of food arrived complete with gifts, turkey, and all the fixings. Today, some 45 years later, I cherish a memento of the first gift I ever received, given by the generosity of people like you. It is a small red book that provides me with daily inspiration and a belief that my family and others in similar situations are not invisible. It is a constant reminder that all people matter regardless of their station in life.
Teaching children about giving is easy, and trust me, recipients never forget. I would not be the person I am today without the help we received from others. In our city, there is at least one person in every classroom whose family relies on the food bank for their daily survival and every day the numbers increase.
It is easy to give and doesn’t require a ton of expense. I invite you, as a family, to look around your home and find gently used toys, clothes, blankets, housewares or any items that no longer serve you and share them with another. Look in your cupboard and pull out a few extra cans and take them to drop off centers or to your local church. If you have the financial resources, use them in whatever capacity feels right. Help someone matter.
My mother, from heaven, thanks you for making the difference.