Wealth of My Heart

In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, I’ve been thinking a lot about giving.

Due to my line of work, I am privy to a first-hand look at how the holidays are often far from joyous for many people. Too many kids wake up on Christmas morning and have no gift. Too many people need shelter and a warm meal. Too many people are lonely and want some company. Too many people are hungry and want to provide a special meal for their family. All of us are likely worried about the economy and the future. I know I am. But when I think about the men and women who struggle to find adequate shelter in the cold rain, the children who move from foster home to foster home never knowing what “home” is, the elderly who have no one to visit them, or the sick who are stuck in the hospital, I can’t NOT do something. It can be as simple as donating a bag of groceries to signing up to serve food at a shelter to buying a gift for a child in need. These gestures might feel small but to someone else? They are big.

Times are tough right now and in my circle of most beloved people, many are struggling to make ends meet. Everyone is pinching pennies and being cautious when it comes to money. So, I’m leveling the playing field. Instead of buying gifts for everyone, I am going to invite my loved ones to volunteer with me or I will donate money to charity in their name. I’ve already lined up two volunteer opportunities and am looking for others. Sharing our time in an effort to help others will be more meaningful than getting a new cd or necklace.

This is not a cop out to avoid shopping and spending. I’ve given this a lot of thought. I want to get back to the true meaning of the holidays which to me is, spreading joy and sharing my wealth. My wealth has never been in my bank account but in my heart.

If you have suggestions of volunteer opportunities or organizations to donate to, I’m open to suggestions. Or if you’re volunteering or donating, I’d love to know.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


46 thoughts on “Wealth of My Heart

  1. When my older kids were younger, we would spend time holding the babies that had been abandoned in the hospital. (Usually drug addicted, so they needed to be held alot to soothe them) Now that Silas is 5, we’re able to do that this year also. It’s wonderful to be able to help, but hard because there’s so much more that they need.

    I think you’re idea is wonderful.

  2. You Ms. Sizzle are an angel. I hope you know that.

    My church has this “giving tree” every christmas where you can take a little paper tree off of the big christmas tree in the church. On it is written what a child who is poor or homeless or who just can’t afford something has requested some type of gift.

    I was actually thinking of doing something similar. Instead of giving gifts to the usual folks, give to those who are really in need.

  3. This is a fantastic idea. I’m inspired to talk to my family about this – it will be our first Christmas without my Grandma and she was such a giving woman, I’m sure if we did something like this in her memory, she’d really love it and be very proud of us.

  4. A group of friends and I have gotten together the past few years and adopted a family. I have had more fun shopping for the adopted family each year than I do shopping for my own friends and family. There is just something about knowing how appreciated your gifts will be that makes it all the more rewarding.

    I’d love some volunteer opportunities. Ideally we find something that we can take Charlie along when we are doing, I’d love to get him involved as young as possible.

  5. I read about this organization a few days ago…


    And yeah, you gotta be able to paint wood! Just remind your boyfriend what Christopher Lowell once so wisely said, ” Just because its wood doesnt mean its good.” šŸ™‚

    The pic above the bed is of my grandparents… probably my favorite thing in the whole house. It was taken when they were dating, and my grandmother’s spinster aunt was their chaperone EVERYWHERE and took the picture one afternoon. It makes me so happy.

  6. A friend of mine sets up Carolers to go to VA hospitals and halfway houses. I did that twice with him, and honestly wish I still lived down there to continue – he would specifically ask which wards needed some joy, and that’s where we would go. Such a little, tiny thing for me to do, but it really brought some happiness.

  7. I found you through Nilsa and thought I’d finally comment šŸ™‚

    My extended family used to draw a name each year and buy that one person a $25 gift. We don’t know each other well, so it was a silly routine of calling up Uncle Joe and saying “what do you want for Christmas.”

    About 3 years ago I brought up the idea of everyone donating to adopt a family instead. The idea was a HUGE success and people donated so much we ended up adopting 2 families. My husband and I decided to adopt a little family for ourselves as well last year. Unfortunately we’ve been a bit burned (“needy” families that asked for high-end, expensive designer clothes for the mom, then zero for baby #2 on the way, and BTW mom was 15). This year, we’re donating to the no-kill cat shelter that we foster for. They are a great organization, and I know the kitties will appreciate it šŸ™‚

  8. This is awesome, Sizz. So many people are in need right now, especially for FOOD. Food banks are seeing numbers they haven’t seen in years. So yeah, one thing I’ll be doing is donating food – good stuff, too. I get totally upset when I see people donating pop tarts and processed shit like that!

    And I think it’s important to remember that it doesn’t take a lot to make a difference šŸ™‚

  9. You’re a kind person, Sizzle, and this is a great reminder to stop and think about what I can do for others this time of year.

  10. My family adopts another family every year. We buy gifts and food for the family to have on Christmas day. Every year the families with teenagers are over looked because most people who help with this program want to buy gifts for little kiddos so this year we asked for a family with teens.

  11. I’m still waiting to receive my match in the mentoring program at the YWCA. Went to an event for mentors this past Sunday.

    You know me. It’s all about the kids for me. I used to work for a non-profit that served children before I went into teaching. So for me it’s anything that has to do with children.

    The radio station I listen to in the morning is raising money to buy medication for children in areas with non-potable water. http://kblx.com/pages/pages.php?page=28 And it looks like the organization is based in Seattle.

  12. You are a wonderful human being. Thank you for your words, and for the reminder, to us all, about what the ‘real’ meaning of Christmas is.

  13. I think that’s awesome :-D. I was toying with this idea a couple weeks ago when we were prepping for the radio show.

    The topic was creating stress free holidays and I was saying let’s get back to basics. I remember being a kid and we would do things like get together with a big bunch of friends and go caroling. I LOVED doing that each year.

    I know times are tough right now, but I’m hoping that the toughness will bring people together a bit more to remember what the season is REALLY all about.

  14. This is an awesome idea! I love it!

    We always send packages to someone from anysoldier.com. The soldiers who have written back have mentioned that most people do this during the holidays but then forget for the rest of the year…not to say people shouldn’t send during the holidays, but I always make a mental note to increase our packages anytime other than the holiday season.

    Our church hangs pieces of paper, like little ornaments, on the Christmas tree with information about a child (age, sizes, what they need, etc.) and every year each of my kids chooses one to buy things for. My kids normally choose someone about the same age/interests as themselves and I think it is a wonderful way for them to “get it” and understand that just because we have plenty, not everyone does. One year a little girl asked for mittens and a hat. My daughter almost made herself crazy trying to choose just the right extra things for the little girl who only had a wish of hats and mittens!

    You have such a great heart. I love reading these kinds of posts!

  15. You gave me goosebumps. Your mindset is one I wish more people would take on. The past several years, my coworkers and I have adopted families at Christmas. It’s so much fun to shop for people who really need things. And even more fun when we get pictures of the little kids opening their presents. I hope all your holiday endeavors go well and that all the goodness you’re putting out comes back to you.

  16. My place of work adopts numerous families every year. They give us wish lists and we fulfill as much as we can for each family member. We try to stretch our dollars to really get them all that we can. Usually clothing, gas cards, grocery gift cards for the parents. Even small appliances if they ask. Toys, clothes, etc. for the kids. It feels like a small, but meaningful thing.

  17. What a great idea! Time together and helping others.

    I was shocked when I came upon resistance to the whole idea of giving to help the needed at work. The biggest issue the most spoiled 20-something you have ever met in your life…

  18. My sister works in a group home and this Christmas my family will be spending part of the day with someone from the home who would otherwise be alone for the holidays. She wanted him to feel special on Christmas and I think she’s a pretty cool dude for wanting to bring him to our home and have him share in our family holiday.
    I’m also inspired by what you are doing and am feeling the urge to volunteer some when I’m back home.

  19. I think a lot of people are shifting their way of thinking regarding the upcoming holidays – Your ideas are fabulous. I know I will continue to donate through the run to feed the hungry, the adopted family program through work and grocery donations during my holiday shopping. If everyone did one thing…the outcome would be huge.

  20. I donate every year to the State Hospital. Some people have lived their entire lives there including some children. I used to work there as a youth counselor about 8 years ago so I know they have nothing for gifts or clothes. I buy presents and donate nice used clothing for their clothing department. I also volunteer with the United Way throughout the year.

  21. You shame me, Siz: “the true meaning of the holidays which to me is, spreading joy and sharing my wealth” I was going to say that the true meaning of the holidays is rum in my egg nog. Now I’ll have to go out and do something generous. Damn it.

  22. Really AWESOME idea, Sizz. We did something similar for our wedding. Instead of giving cheesy little bags of candy or other small tokens of our appreciation to our guests, we donated to two charities that are important to us. Helping those who can’t help themselves is the true essence of the giving season.

  23. Nice. Very nice. I love this idea. My husband works for one of the shelters and I was trying to figure out what to do there. I was talking to my son about buying some toys for foster kids for Christmas; we were driving past Ryther at the time. I was explaining to him about adoption, foster kids, my friend who used to volunteer for the foster care college program… thinking that he would get excited about buying some toys. Nope, he wants a brother.

  24. I always sponsor a family for Christmas (usually a single mom with children) and purchase toys and groceries for Christmas morning.

    I choose a single mom and kids due to my own situation growing up.

  25. I think this is a great idea. I would really like to have my kids help out with something during the holidays (along with me). I am also in the Seattle area. Do you have recommendations on something we could do? My sons are 4 1/2 and 6 1/2.

  26. I also have been feeling the same way, I’ve been pondering volunteering at a soup kitchen or something along those lines. I’ve been hearing a lot about the global food shortage so I may just donate food. You have a fabulous idea, I can’t wait to hear more of your plans šŸ™‚

  27. i think that is a great idea for the christmas gifts. my friend did that for everyone last year and it was awesome. donating to charities and volunteering are two of the best ways to celebrate the holidays i think šŸ™‚

  28. Check with your neighborhood bank or school for an Angel Tree. People in need make a wishlist, and place it on the tree for people to select, and fulfill. It can be a pair of shoes, or a special toy, or a wish for a family. We have them here, and it is really touching.Radio stations and tv get involved and show how giving can make all the difference for somebody, and urge people to participate. šŸ™‚

  29. Two of my absolute favorite charities are HSUS.org and heifer.org. Heifer.org is especially wonderful in that it provides the means for families to support themselves and every time the donated animal gives birth, the baby is given to another family in need. Families can get eggs from the chickens, wool to make clothing and many other great things. It’s the one I always ask for when people ask me what I have on my Christmas list. Hooray to you for making this decision. I try to explain it to people with the reasoning that my level of happiness will never be increased by the same level as someone who just found out they can eat and feed their family.

  30. I love what you are doing that is great – We are supporters of Toys for Tots – Hubby is a Marine so that is a cause near and dear to him plus he has seen over the years first hand what joy the gifts bring to so many kids… We also support Single Mothers Outreach and will adopt a family this year.

  31. I love your big heart!

    I feel the same way, too, during the holidays. Usually my church or Makenna’s school does a Salvation Army Angel Tree, and I pull a couple tags. They usually only ask for one gift, but I always end up buying a bunch more things. It kills me when people take the tags, then never bring it back šŸ˜¦

    I also donate money to the local missions that provide Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to the homeless. Oh, I donate to the local animal shelter.

  32. We complete shoe boxes every year for Operation Christmas Child.

    This year, we also completed “blanket bundles” for a local radio station fund raiser. Buy or make a blanket (we made 2 baby blankets) – fill with canned/non perishable goods. The canned goods go to the local food pantry; the blankets go to the homeless. Total cost (time included)? Less than $20.

  33. Pingback: Give A Little Bit « Sizzle Says

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