I POSTED THIS FOR JENA:
The Christmas season is magical, because the world comes alive with joy, and strangers bond in a spirit of optimism, empathy, and generosity. People forget that the world's problems are "too big" for them, and instead do what they can to help others. The beautiful and magical thing about you is that you possess this "Christmas" spirit year round. I've been blessed because of it, I see the difference it can make, so my gift to you for Christmas, is a year of giving.
On December 1, just as our town's Christmas parade was about to commence, there was an accident in which a man ran over several members of a Boy Scout troop, ages eight to ten. One of the children is still in the hospital, and his family is struggling to make this a good Christmas. I will provide toys, clothes, food, and anything else they may need.
New Year's Eve brings not only celebration, but sometimes tragedy, and this is often a time when more blood is necessary for transfusions. I will donate blood to a local blood bank, as well as plasma, which is something that is desperately needed by burn victims.
The Sunshine Fund is backups helping backups. When one of us experiences a crisis (illness, damage to home and property, etc.), this fund allows us to provide financial assistance, on top of the prayer and emotional support we'd give anyway. I'm not sure when this will be needed, but here's my pledge to help a backup in need.
Operation Kindness is one of the largest no-kill animal shelters in north Texas. They take in all cats and dogs; the abused, the aged, the unattractive, the unwanted. Some of the cats and dogs are victims of unimaginable cruelty, and their medical bills can be staggering. These animals are carefully adopted out if possible, but they have homes at the shelter, for life if necessary. This shelter runs on volunteer efforts and supplies, so I will make a donation of items from their "needs list."
I will be participating in the Country Music Marathon to raise money for Malaria No More. I'm just walking the half, but be assured that 100% of myself goes into this project.
In honor of Memorial Day, and the many men in my family who have served their country with such honor and bravery, I will send cards or care packages to Marines and soldiers in Iraq.
This is my Grandma's birthday month. She fought a "terminal" cancer, and she beat it. She stayed in remission til she passed away, from something unrelated. In honor of her, I will donate my hair to Locks of Love, a project that makes wigs out of human hair. These wigs, with their more realistic appearance, help to boost the morale of the patients as they endure chemotherapy, radiation, and the loss of their own hair.
The Russ Martin Listener Foundation provides immediate financial assistance to the families of fallen police officers and firemen in north Texas, in the interrom between a tragedy and the acquisition of insurance benefits. Too often, the families of these underappreciated everyday heroes struggle with financial difficulties as well as the loss of their loved one. I will make a donation to this organization, to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep me safe.
I will donate fans to those who cannot afford them. This is a need that is often overlooked in my part of Texas, especially with the poor and the elderly, who may be unable to afford the high cost of cooling their homes in 100+ degree heat.
Every year, Jerry Lewis inspires me with his Labor Day Telethon. I have donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association since I was a little girl. So that's my project for this month.
Just as we needed fans in summer, Texas winters find many children without coats to keep them warm. I'm going to donate to the Coats for Kids Drive in my area.
Throughout 2009, every time I buy from Amazon or have someone go to the grocery store for me, I'm going to buy some extra nonperishable food items. Then I'll have plenty to donate to a local food bank, just in time for Thanksgiving. I may also donate some turkeys, because I think there's a program around here to do that as well.
I'll make a donation to Toys for Tots, the Marines' program to provide toys to children in need.
Sometimes as a blind person, it's hard to find ways to help, especially when well-intentioned people give you the idea that any help you would provide could be done faster and more efficiently by a sighted person. Thanks to you, and the friends you've helped me make, I'll never believe that again, and my life is richer for being able to give to others. I hope this Christmas finds you surrounded with loved ones, and blessed with peace and joy. My wish for you is that all the days of the coming year will be just like Christmas. Thank you, for all that you have given me.
I love you, Melinda.
God bless you.