Giving Back

I like to think that I am a very blessed individual.  I make enough money to have a good roof over my head.   I drive a newer vehicle and can afford to pick up most everyone a little something for Christmas this year.  However I don’t think that I will be taking any spur of the moment trips anywhere warm though.

I have to work hard for every dollar that I earn.  Getting up at 5 each and every day to be at the plant for 6:30 can be a grind, but it makes me appreciate each and every dollar that much more.  It also puts into sharp perspective the situations that many in our society are in.  With the economy in the crapper, times are tough for a lot of people.  Even those that may still have a job are relying more and more on the charity of others.

So with that in mind I and a group of like-minded people got together last night to give a little time and hopefully take a bit of the worry out of the Christmas season.  Every year in Winnipeg the Christmas Cheer Board takes donations from across the city and compiles thousands of hampers for the less fortunate.  Ranging from single moms, to low-income families these donations bring a little joy to what could otherwise be a bleak time of year.

With that in mind our little group met up and we broke into pairs to play Santa Claus for some down on their luck families.  My co-pilot Eric and I had never done this before and we were quickly sorted out by one of the helpful volunteers who work in the warehouse.   Picking an area that was fairly close to home gave me a familiarity with the streets but also a slight apprehension that we were heading into one of the rougher parts of town.

After receiving our care packages, GPS co-ordinates were plugged in and we set course for the heart of deepest Elmwood.  For those that are familiar with Winnipeg, Elmwood is one of those rough and tumble neighbourhoods that always seems to make the newscast for the wrong reasons.  Gang activity is on the rise as are incidents of violent crime.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the people who live in that area are necessarily bad but there are some nasty elements that come with living in a low rent part of town.

Pulling up to the first set of apartment buildings I noticed that the streetlights seemed to be out on this particular block but undaunted we soldiered on.  A phone call was made and an eager young woman met us at the front door to the complex.  As boxes changed hands I noticed a pair of little eyeballs peaking around the corner.  Eyes filled with childhood wonder at the brightly wrapped package that sat atop the box of holiday food.

The mom seeing her young son peering out from behind the corner waved him forward to meet Eric and myself.  Sheepish hesitation was quickly replaced by curiosity as the boy quickly ran to his mother’s side.  His eyes never strayed far from the present that was obviously meant for him.

A Child's Christmas Wonder

We exchanged heartfelt Merry Christmas greetings and were on our way into the cold night to continue our rounds.  The rest of our deliveries went in pretty much the same fashion.  Young children hiding behind their moms and slightly older ones helping to carry what they were about to receive.  Everyone seemed thankful and if only for a moment the parents, Eric and I shared in the wonder of watching children’s excitement at the coming of Christmas.

Doesn't Every Child Deserve a Happy Christmas?

Now I could go off on a rant about how these parents should be ashamed of themselves and get out and find better work.  But speaking as one who has been in similar circumstances a time or two, I know now is not the time to judge.

This is the season for forgiveness and of family, of wonder in children’s eyes, and of giving.  Christmas time should be about sharing what we have. Digging deep into those pockets and supporting a charity or cause.  If my driving some presents and turkeys to help cheer up a deserving family is all it takes to put a smile on a child’s face then it’s time and money very well spent.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!

13 responses to “Giving Back

  1. This is such a great thing for you to do Bob! I always appreciate the experience more than anything…the feeling of seeing the good that you’re doing for those less fortunate. This just really put a smile on my face and I almost believe I’ll have a place to live by Christmas!

    • That’s just the thing Suze people tend to get wrapped up in their own Christmas traditions and forget to help others this time of year.

      This is the first time I have done this, sure in the past I rang the kettle bells for the Salvation Army but I never got to see the end user of the service.

      If it had been all adults on my route I don’t know if I would have been as touched. But seeing the faces of those kids, children who would otherwise get nothing this year really brought a smile to my old weatherbeaten heart.

      Glad that your housing situation is coming to a close!
      All the best to you and your husband.
      Merry Christmas!!

  2. Nice one Bob! Things like that do make a difference, if even just for a few days at Christmas that makes a kid smile.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Merry Christmas right back at you Ivy.

      That’s just the thing, it really didn’t take a whole lot of time out of my busy TV watching schedule to make someones life a little easier. I don’t live like a king by any means but I do have a little extra to give and at this time of year why not.

      If everyone just did a little it would add up to a whole lot in a big hurry.

  3. Love this Bob. Seriously, that’s awesome. What a great thing to do for the community. It’s so important to remember that there are kids out there who don’t wake up Christmas morning with mountains of presents.
    We used to adopt another family at Christmas time and get gifts for the children and parents. It was a great tradition we had when I was growing up. I think it’s great you did this. 🙂

    • I guess it’s all part of my self renovation project that I have been working on for the last year or so. I am making a conscious effort to do more for the community.

      It’s a give a little get a lot philosophy. For the little time and effort I give I get a whole lot of satisfaction knowing that I did my part.
      If you haven’t seen my skydive video from Free Fallin: My life at 11,000 feet. That jump was a reward for raising over 2000 dollars for Ronald McDonald House here in Winnipeg. We made perogies, lots and lots of perogies.

      Giving back just feels good, so I do it when I can.

  4. Loved your post Bob!!!

    Good job!!!!

    It feels great to know you ARE making a difference in someones life at what is probably, the hardest time of the year.

    In our little town – population 2200, we have what is called the Reverse Santa Clause Parade. Santa, along with the help of the local Cubs & Scouts and the Fire Department go out during the second weekend of December in a horse drawn carriage followed by the big shiny firetruck and go door to door to collect food and gifts for those in our town who are in need.

    Donating could not be any easier when they come right to your door! And 100% of the proceeds stay right here in Sexsmith!

    I always make sure I have 2 big bags of food and I buy gifts for both age groups. They put word out a few years ago and many donate toys for the little kids and the teens are left out. So I make sure that I get something cool for the older kids.

    It feels good knowing that I could be helping one of the kids that sits next to my son at school.

    But something even more fantastic has come of this.
    My daughter (19) makes sure she donates what she can come Christmas time.
    She lives on her own and works hard for her money so it warms my heart the she chooses to help out.

    You can see the excitment when she is planning her donations for the year!
    Its pretty cool!
    That is the grestest gift I have received!

    Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

    • Now that’s what I am talking about! Way to go Sexsmith, Alberta!

      It is so awesome that an entire town can get behind an initiative like that. Not only does it foster good will and charity but it also serves as an incredible teaching method. Your daughter is truly learning good things from an incredible community.

  5. Great job, Bob. So many wallow in the commercialism of the holiday season, without paying attention to what it really means. You are quite clearly not one of those people. What a wonderful way to give back and spread some holiday cheer!

    Happy holidays to you and yours! XOXO!

    • Thanks Nikki!

      It’s just part of the Christmas spirit I honestly do think most people do tend to give a little more this time of year. But the commercialism aspect does tend to bother me also. It’s not just the fact that Christ gets left out of the picture most of the time now days that is topic for another discussion. It’s just the fact that we have this whole buy buy spend till it hurts idea driven into our heads now.

      We all have to make a conscious effort to just slow down a half a step and remember why we take time together at this time of year. Just to think of someone other than ourselves for a week or two.

      It’s not really asking a whole lot is it??
      A Very Merry Ho Ho to you and yours also Nikki.
      Santa Bob

  6. Bob, believe it or not, this post actually almost brought a tears to my eyes. I grew up very poor & there were some pretty slim holiday seasons & after becoming an adult and having children of my own, one year it seemed that Murphy was tap dancing on my life, my best friend & the company she worked for “adopted” my children for Christmas. When my economy got better, I “adopted” a family of my own for the holidays. You have no idea the impact you make on that family by making this one Christmas one to remember. My son believed in Santa for years after we were adopted because they’d been told that there would be no presents that year. It broke his heart when we finally convinced him that there really was no Santa but since he’s learned the truth, he is one of the most giving people you will ever meet. We do a lot of volunteering throughout the year, not just during the holiday season because we know that one person can really make a difference. I thank you for giving because I know the impact that it will have over the long run.

    • Well what can I say. Welcome.

      Like you I also had my fair share of lean Christmases over the years.
      Most have been full of friends family and good blessings. But there were also a few years growing up when things were not always so flush.

      I too remember the sting of wondering if people would call us poor if I didn’t wear new clothes to school. I remember the hurt in my mom’s eyes when she made a pizza for Christmas Dinner one year cause we couldn’t afford a turkey.

      Those memories make me want to share the little I do have. Don’t get me wrong we do o.k. but things get tight around the end of some months. Yet we always try to find room for a bit of charity throughout the year.

      I do wish you and your family the best this Christmas season.
      Welcome to Bob’s Place, where there is always a stool beside the fire and the cookies although metaphorical are delicious!!

  7. Merry Christmas! It is so nice to hear someone is doing good. Cheers to you, Mr. Bob! 🙂