This time of year it seems that every time the mail arrives (or email for that matter) there is another request for donations: Food Pantries, Toy Drives, Homeless Shelters. The list goes on and on. We pick and choose the charities that we donate to, looking for ones that do the most good in our own community: Preferably ones who operate with lots of volunteer rather than paid help. We do that so that our donations go the farthest toward helping those in need, because as we keep hearing, the need is greater than ever this year.
Need has always been all around us. We used to shop at a lot of thrift stores when doing theater, looking for props, costumes, or set pieces. But we were doing it for fun. And all around us we could see people for whom the thrift shop was their store of choice – out of necessity.
The Bearded One and I were discussing the huge amount of unmet need this year and deciding to contribute a little more than usual this holiday season and both of us remembered the exact same incident from many years ago:
We were looking for matching glassware at a Salvation Army Thrift Shop. Near the racks of men’s dress shirts were a young couple looking to be in their early to mid 20’s. They were looking for a dress shirt and tie for the husband to wear to a job interview. As they paid for their selections, the wife was looking at a rack of paperback books that stood by the cash register.
“Can I buy a book?” she asked wistfully.
“Yeah, you can pick one out,” he answered.
They were 25 cents apiece. When a single quarter is an issue of great importance, need is very great indeed.
I’m really counting my blessings this year.