The Christmas Season is here again. The chill is in the air, as much as it can be in Florida...and the holiday spirit is all around.
With the way the economy is, and the tough times that a lot of people are having, this year for Christmas, Jeff and I decided that we would help out a family that is so deserving and in need. We look around ourselves and see that we have basically everything we need and want and hate to know that there are people out there that are struggling for basic needs each and every day.
Jeff is a school bus driver now and this job for him is not a job as for most...it's a part of his life where he gets to ship precious cargo (kiddies) to and from school. He has three routes a day, elementary, middle and high school kids. Throughout the school year, there are days when the kids get rowdy, there are days when the kids are crazy...but there are also days when he puts on the radio in the bus and all the kids are singing and laughing and having a great time. There are also days that one or more of the kids will give him a drawing of a school bus with 'Mr. Jeff' driving with crayon-filled hearts surrounding the piece of artwork. When he brings those creations home, he places them up on the refrigerator like a proud daddy, showing off the artwork that one of 'his kids' did. He loves all the kids he gets to share each day with.
As we were deciding which family we wanted to help for Christmas, Jeff went through all of the kids that he has been riding with each and every day so far this school year. He knows of one family that he has the pleasure of having their twin 5-year old daughters on his bus that has been hit hard with this recession. The dad has lost his job and has now resorted to collecting scrap metal so he can bring it to the metal yard for recycling and make some extra money for the holidays. As we were trying to figure out how we would go about doing this for this family, we took into account the dad's feelings...we knew that any man's pride might get int he way and refuse the help we wanted to give. But as the dad came over to Jeff as he was dropping off his daughters and asked if he had any scrap metal so he may be able to make one more trip to the yard before the holidays, Jeff knew we had our 'in' to help them out. We did have some metal for him, so we would go to their house to drop that as well as everything else off for their family.
So Thursday night Jeff clipped coupons and went to the store. He packed up his car with so much food, I couldn't believe it. Ham, Turkey, milk, eggs, bread, butter, cereals, pasta...just so much to mention. I'd say about 15-20 bags of food. Friday I went to Wal-Mart and got a gift certificate so that they could get the kids some gifts for Christmas. Friday night when Jeff got home from work, he picked me up and we were on our way. As we were getting closer to their house, Jeff and I both said that we were nervous about the whole thing. We were so happy about what we were doing, but didn't want the family to take anything the wrong way or to refuse our help. So we decided we were going to get in and get out as fast as we could.
As we got to their property, I noticed the conditon as to how they were living. They had a nice trailer, and a lot of property. But as we got close, I could see that there was a flat trailer that the dad must have been working on getting metal out of various appliances and stuff that he had loaded on there. They had a beautiful dog that greeted us named Bam-Bam. Part Mastiff, part red-nosed pit bull. If you know me, you know how much I love animals...he was adorable. The mom and the twins were out there as well. The girls were beautiful...and their eyes lit up when they saw 'Mr. Jeff'. We got out of the car and opened the hatch...we brought the metal to him, and then Jeff told them that we had to leave quick because we had to get to a friends house, but we had some extra stuff to give them. Jeff told the twins that an elf came to the house with all the goodies and told him to give them to the sweetest twin girls he knew. So he knew it was for them. They smiled so brightly thinking that Santa and his elves had something to do with this. Jeff and I unloaded as fast as we could and all the dad could do was help as you could see he was in total shock and had no idea what to do. As we got ready to leave, the dad and mom came to us and gave us hugs and thanked us over and over again. We told them that it was all okay and we'd see them soon.
Jeff and I got back in the car and left quickly. We were both quiet for a minute or so...I think we were both in awe as to what had just taken place. I felt tears well up in my eyes and I know Jeff was feeling the same way. Finally Jeff said, 'It was all worth getting a hug and kiss from the twins.' He's not allowed to have any contact with the kids at all during school hours. Which is totally understandable. But for the twins girls to wrap their arms around him and give him a hug and kiss and say thank you made his heart sing.
So, I now know what Christmas is supposed to mean...giving. I must admit that I always wanted to do for others and we have given to the Red Cross and various animal shelters and such, but to be able to impact a family directly was unbelievable and a memory that I will never forget my whole life. We decided that this will be what we do each year...give to a family that is in need. Not only are you giving to the family, but you are feeding your own heart into knowing how much of a difference you can make just by being compassionate.