Saw this story in the Bellingham Herald today:
The headline, and initial storyline, are pretty nauseating; still, the real story doesn’t begin until about halfway through the article. The Salvation Army has been “overwhelmed with more requests than can be filled” this year. So many kids and families that might not be able to add Christmas ’08 to their list of child happy memories (possibly, that list is appalingly short to begin with).
Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a “no presents” rant with friends and family (thank you for that, And, yet, I’ve thought about it a bit more, and part of the whole childhood Christmas mystique is getting those totally cool toys that you, an 8-yr old with no cash flow, can’t get any other non-birthday time of year.
Getting that one really special present (or, rather, the anticipation of getting it) is part of what makes the day so awesome for the little guys. And groups like Sal.Army and Toys for Tots just can’t keep up with legitimate requests for help this year, one where economic schitzophrenia has brought on much fear for many.
Here’s my glove-slap to you all: don’t just talk about helping those less fortunate. Don’t just contribute your “thoughts & prayers” to hurting families. DO SOMETHING. You CAN AFFORD IT (you’re reading this on a computer you bought, right?). You HAVE THE TIME (you’re surfing online, right?). Next time you’re Christmas shopping, plan an extra 5-10 minutes to grab an Angel Tree ornament and shop for some needy kids; you can even make an activity with the kids out of it (what kid doesn’t love shopping for toys?).
Some other options that Lynden Schools passed along to me:
(these are Bellingham-specific, but I guarantee that you’re 2-3 web clicks away from finding ones for your town)

Project Santa – web address

They have information about help needed to pick presents and to wrap them but if you are interested in helping deliver on Sunday, Dec. 21st., please call the Santa phone at 360-961-5513 and leave your name and number.
Toys For Tots – web address then select Washington and then Bellingham to bring you to the local information.

If you would like to volunteer on the distribution dates Friday and Saturday 12/19 and 12/20, please call Betty at 647-9361. They are assisting families from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. with one toy and a stocking stuffer.
Have a joy- and peace-filled holiday season, everyone!
– Phil