Dec 11 2009
Earlier this week I watched the spirit of charity emerge in a group of sixth graders, and it was worth all the presents under the tree to me. One was my child, the others were friends, and all took part in wrapping gifts for children in need.
The gift program, run by the Ventura County Rescue Mission, is called “The Great Toy Giveaway,” and it’s been going on for over 15 years. The Mission gives away about 3,500 new toys during the holidays, spreading the joy amongst 800-900 families, all of them low-income or families on assistance. The program is funded by the Peter C. Foy Foundation, along with toy donations from Toys 4 Tots and other, local toy drives.
As a mom, I was amazed at the sensitivity and the efforts of all of the volunteer children who came to wrap presents.
But here’s what made my heart burst with an overwhelming joy: The kids with us looked at the piles of gifts all around us as we were wrapping, and said, “This is not enough.” They wanted to give more and they wanted to do more.
We moms encouraged that seed of charity, of course; the next day, we took the kids shopping for presents they wanted to give to the kids at the Ventura County Rescue Mission. And we all went back again to wrap more gifts.
In my work here at Cars 4 Causes® The Charity That Gives To Charities®, I’m surrounded every day by the generosity of people giving through their car donation, yet I am still amazed at the human ability to give so much – and thrilled to see this spirit taking root in my child.
Jonathan Leeper, the Ventura County Rescue Mission volunteer coordinator, tells me that he has children volunteering along with their parents all year long. The kids help serve meals. (The Mission serves 700-900 meals every day.) And the children help clean up the dining room after meals.
The holiday gift-wrapping is one of the most touching for the children, as they see how they can directly help other children who are just like themselves – but not so fortunate.
How wonderful it is to see the growth of charity in the next generation!