We came together with a common purpose on Sunday, Dec. 4.
Families brought in 25 pound bags of rice and red beans by the wagon load. Children donned gloves and tables were lined with huge bowls waiting to be filled with rice or beans.
Why rice and beans? These are staples in our diets that many poorer families depend on to fill bellies, especially this time of year. When schools are out of session over winter break, children who normally get free school meals go hungry. Staples like rice and beans ensure that families can get by over the holiday season.
In all, about 50 children and their parents gathered in the youth room at St. Timothy’s Church in Danville to package Ziploc baggies of food for the Monument Crisis Center in Concord.
These staples would be added to the more than 200 boxes of food parishioners brought in for families in need. Usually, families at St. Timothy’s participate in Adopt-A-Family through the Monument Crisis Center by buying holiday gifts for all members of an assigned family. However, this year the need was so great for food that this took precedent over other gifts.
As children gathered around bowls of rice, it was interesting to watch as they carefully filled each baggie, not wanting to spill any rice that would make a difference in somebody else’s life. One young child said, “This is fun!”
I overheard a parent comment, “It feels good to help others in need.” In just 30 minutes, more than 700 pounds of rice and beans were packaged.
Last year, my own family made Adopt-A-Family present deliveries to families in need in the Concord area. We loaded up our SUV with our children and the gifts other families had bought for those who would otherwise not have holiday gifts. My young children could not fully grasp what it would be like not to have presents, as they noted that surely Santa would visit these children even if we didn’t deliver gifts. However, the sad reality is that without the kindness and generosity of others, there would be no Santa for many families.
As we drove to one house and pulled onto the grassy driveway, a little girl opened the door. She must have been about 2 years old. As she saw my children bring in present after present, her eyes lit up in amazement. For her, there was a Santa Claus!
For my own family, the gift for us was buying presents for those less fortunate and seeing eyes light up with holiday deliveries. That was priceless! This year, as we packaged rice and beans, we again felt lucky to be helping others. Sometimes, it IS better to give than to receive!