Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tis the Season

Matthew 17:19-20 “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Long-time readers may recall a couple of years ago, I wrote extensively about Christmas. Starting about this time in November of 2006, I focused numerous posts on the topic of Christmas. Last year brought the 2nd Annual Christmas Countdown and with this post, I, as the proprietress of the Alabama Kitchen Sink blog, hereby and forthwith launch the 3rd Annual Christmas Countdown. TA DA and you may now pop the cork on the bubbly.

There’s a new twist this year. You see, my 9-5:30 workday is as one of Santa’s elves. Do you think I’m kidding?

Okay, I am not really an elf, but I feel like one and my days revolve around getting ready for Christmas, and I get paid for it. Wonder what Santa pays his elves? The nonprofit I work for, the Humanitarian Service Project, is helping 1,400 needy children and 115 low-income seniors this Christmas as the organization has helped those in need for nearly 30 years.

It all started that Christmas in 1979 in the spare bedroom of the founders. Year by year community support grew as did HSP’s reputation. A couple of years ago, the organization moved into a location with its own warehouse for storing the food and toys collected.

Located in central DuPage County, Illinois, HSP serves the forgotten in a sea of plenty. The people we help are hard-working families with children or seniors trying to stretch meager incomes to provide just the necessities like food. We wonder what the Christmas Project will bring this year. Already we have lost some sponsorships for our seniors.

Each day I talk to struggling families. Jobs are lost, illness strikes. A mother must tell her little ones Santa can't make it to our house this year. Why? How would you answer that question? Surrounded by the materialism of our culture, I would think this is a hard question. Some may say that we reap the rewards or failures of our own self determination, hard work, and choices.

One of my co-workers and I were talking about what makes people give to others while some choose not to help. An interesting thought best pondered another day.

The Humanitarian Service Project is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, and a Four Star Charity Navigator Charity. If you’d like to make a donation, you may do so through Network for Good.

Mission Statement:
It is the mission of the Humanitarian Service Project to alleviate the pain and suffering that poverty brings to needy seniors and children living in DuPage and Kane Counties, Illinois, without distinction of gender, race, creed, caste, or color.


Palm Springs Savant said...

What a great idea Sheila, I made a small donation to the Humanitarian Service Project today.

Sheila said...

Thank you so very much. Our projects are uplifting and through the support of folks like you, we can help more. Each day our list of potential families to help grows and if our resources allow, we hope to add an additional 20 families.

We are a small staff and I am learning that the first step in fund raising is to ask.

Jackie said...

What a wonderful project and will be needed badly this year with so many jobs lost.

We are feeling the impact here as the two US car manufacturers in South Africa, GM and Ford, will be retrenching before Christmas. That on top of our electricity crisis which as had thousands retrenched already with mines working shorter hours etc.

I therefore hope the Christmas spirit is strong this year and people give to all the various charities to make sure there are no empty kiddies tummies on Christmas day.

Sheila said...

It is interesting to hear firsthand how the economy is impacting South Africa. With global economics, it's hard for us to be isolated even in hard times. I don't know what is ahead, but I hope some of the US companies are forced to rethink their management/business decisions.

Joe said...

Good luck to you and all who partake in this effort.

Marion said...

Well, don't you just look like a very mischievous Elf! What a lovely way to be during the Christmas Season.

With the economy crisis, I feel for the ones hardest hit. And of course, the charities will suffer greatly.

The grocery store here has a container where one might drop an item or two to donate to differing charities, right by the door. It seems to work really well. Donating money, however, has become a different thing altogether.

I'll bet there are great rewards, in this job, as well.

Jay Croft said...

I do NOT buy retail in supermarkets and put the canned goods, etc, in a donation barrel.

Instead, I write a check to the charity, as they have the ability to purchase wholesale. Thus my donation goes further, and also I can claim this donation for tax purposes.

UmmFarouq said...

Great work. Hope you guys all make a big difference this holiday season.

BTW, love the new picture!

Sheila said...

Thanks Joe. We are fortunate to have awesome community support, built through 30 years by our founders.

Marion, however and whatever the level of support, it is all appreciated by our organization and I'm sure by groups with a similar mission. Yes, there are rewards.

Jay, your way of helping does allow the charity to put the money toward the most pressing needs. However, we love getting help no matter what form. A high school Key Club brought in several pallets of food from a drive they had the other day. Over 2,000 items.

Each day I talk to people who are struggling. I listen, direct to other resources and pray they find what their families need to make it. I know for the most part the level of poverty in America is not as stark as that of the starving children we see photos of on the evening news. Yet, poverty robs children of the potential to become productive and successful. It's a worthy goal to try to eliminate as much poverty as we can and to uplift those who are down. We are all in the same global boat.

Sheila said...

UmmFarouq, thanks for your good wishes and the same returned to you.