Monday, December 24, 2012

sharing the love

For the second year in a row, my landlord has graciously given all the tenants in my building $100 off rent for the month of December.  His note said "I'm sure everyone could use a little extra money at this time of year."

{panel from a mural the kids at my school created}

I was trying to figure out if I should do something special with the money when I read three different stories in the newspaper over the course of a week that made me so happy.  So I decided to donate $25 to each of the organizations in the respective stories, and the last $25 to the Fund for the Needy, which the Seattle Times sponsors every year (more on that below).

{another panel from the mural}

Story #1
A program was started in the Monroe Correctional Complex (a prison in Monroe, which is north of Seattle) for the inmates to repair bikes to donate to kids who need them.  This is such an amazing program--not only do the inmates learn skills and get responsibility, but the bikes get repaired and stay out of the landfill, and also children who can't afford bikes get to have one.

{photo from Seattle Times}

Story #2
Two veterans from Washington walked from Kennewick (way over in south central WA, close to the Oregon border) to Seattle to raise money for a foundation they started.  It's called Shadow 6 Foundation and its goal is to build a sanctuary for returning soldiers in Ellensburg, in eastern WA, with a farm and housing and counseling services.  What a wonderful idea!
{photo from Seattle Times}

Story #3
The Soup Ladies started making hot meals for emergency response workers in Washington.  They get a call and head out to feed the exhausted, hungry firefighters, police men, medics, and search and rescue folks.  Recently the Soup Ladies headed east to make hot meals for those helping with Hurricane Sandy.  I love their motto: "Warming the world, one bowl at a time."
{photo from Seattle Times}

The Fund for the Needy
Every year since 1979, the Seattle Times sponsors the Fund for the Needy.  They cover administrative costs of the fund so that all the donations can go to the 12 local organizations they've selected.  Over the last couple weeks they've been profiling each one in the newspaper.  I've enjoyed reading about homeless children getting educational and behavioral support at Wellspring, a 9-year-old and 25-year-old teaming up through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, and Youth Eastside Services helping a teenager from Lake Washington High School (my alma mater and where my mom works).  That last one might make you tear up.

{lovely writing on the window of a hat shop in Vancouver, BC}

Merry Christmas all!  One of my favorite columnists in the paper wrote this essay on the mystery of Christmas.  How crazy is it that God would send his son into the world as a baby, and not just any baby but one born in a stable to a young, poor couple far from home!  Baby Jesus grew up to hang out with and support the marginalized people of the world (as Pastor Tom would say, the least, the last, and the lost), and calls us to do the same today.  It is in that spirit that I made my four donations.  May that spirit fill you too!

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