Thursday, March 22, 2012

Giving Back

I’ve probably mentioned a bunch of times already that I’m a Christmas fanatic. I find that’s where some of my best storytelling comes from; a time when family and friends are together and everything feels right and peaceful in the world. If I had it my way, it would be Christmas all year round, or at least once a month. I do feel that sometimes the meaning gets lost underneath all of the decorations, presents, and hoopla.

During the holidays in 2006, I walked into Citibank to make a deposit and noticed a Toys for Tots box. I read the description on front and went home to look into the organization a bit more. I was really touched by their mission and what it meant for a child in need to get something special at this time of year. I went to Toys R’ Us the next day and purchased a few items to bring back to the box at the bank. But, I felt like I could definitely do more.

The following year, I decided instead of just buying a few toys and contributing, I could help even more kids by starting my own drive at work. I filled out all the necessary paperwork and got the ok to organize a dropbox at the hotel where I worked. Toys for Tots even sent me a bag full of buttons that I could give out to those who donated and showed their support. I wrapped the box up in sparkly gold Christmas paper with a big red bow and printed out some information about the drive to add to the box. I made fliers and posted them around the building, sent out an e-mail, and spoke about the idea at our weekly staff meeting to try and get everyone on board.

I bought a bunch of goodies at Toys R’ Us again and filled the box up a little to get things going. I was hoping it would be like a tip jar; once people saw something in there they’d get the idea an add something themselves. Well, I was more than touched and happy when after just a few days, the box was overflowing. The drop off day came around and I packed up everything in my car and headed over to the Marine Corps office. They were so appreciate and I felt great that each toy would be going to a child that may not normally get a gift on Christmas. I would encourage everyone to try something like this for any organization that is special to you or helps people in need. It really is a rewarding experience that you and those you help, will never forget.

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