You would surely love being an elf perched on a shelf in the clothing bank! Your awareness of the struggles faced by ordinary people in the community would deepen. Your heart would be filled with joy as you watched the many ways people’s lives are touched by your generosity. A perfect opportunity for this occurred a few weeks ago.
I was on my way to do something “important” when something even more important caused me to pause. Standing in front of me was one of our clothing bank moms. Holding tightly to her jacket, stood her two young children who looked up at me shyly. “I came to thank you,” she said. “Do you remember me? I am the one whose husband’s car was stolen from in front of our home last Christmas Eve.”
Together, we remembered the many hardships their family faced in the weeks immediately following that Christmas. Jocelyn’s husband had lost many hours of work and nearly lost his job because of the difficulty of finding people who would commit to bringing him back and forth from work. “He was so stressed,” she recalled. Not only were they unable to pay all of their rent in January, but their utility bill was delinquent. She had come to St. Francis House and tearfully pleaded for help “for just this one time.” Because of your goodness, we were able to finish the payments on both bills.
Jocelyn had come to the clothing bank faithfully for the next few months. Her children were growing quickly and the free clothing she obtained helped them save money for rent and utilities. Jocelyn herself finished her CNA course in June. “I have a good job now, and I don’t need to come to the clothing bank anymore,” she informed me. “That’s why you haven’t seen me for a while.”
“I have been saving a little bit from each pay check,” she said as she took a well-worn manila envelope from her purse. “Here is what I have saved. I want you to use it to help some other family that is having a hard time this Christmas.” She carefully counted out each precious bill until she announced triumphantly, “Fifty!” Knowing that this gift was a hugely generous one for her, I accepted it gratefully and promised that it would be used well. “You kept us from feeling hopeless in a very dark time,” she said.
Jocelyn’s eyes were filled with tears as she turned to leave. My own heart was filled with gratitude. It is because of you, that these heartwarming experiences exist. It is through your heart and hands that we are able to lift up families on some of their darkest days. Is this not at the heart of the Christmas miracle? With your help, we can continue to bring light into darkness and hope to those in despair.
As we enter this season of giving, I invite you to join Jocelyn in keeping this Christmas miracle alive by matching, or doubling, or tripling her gift! Your contribution of $50, $100 or $150 will help leverage her gift and make an even greater impact. You will be instrumental in touching the lives of those who come to our door in the months ahead.
Sister Pat Michalek, OSF
Thank you in advance for your generosity and care.