Monday, November 2, 2009

What's Your Cause?

So what is your cause? Everyone has one. Everyone has something they believe in supporting...whether it's breast cancer research, March of Dimes, helping the homeless...everyone has one thing that just touches their heart. Makes them want to open their wallet. Makes them want to donate their time. We're entering the Season of Giving. Who will you be giving to?

Breast Cancer research is a cause that touches my heart deeply. My mom is in a 14-year battle with this disease. That means I was 12 when she was diagnosed. That means I don't remember much of life without it being a part of it. I've felt the ups and downs, the uncertainty, the fear that this disease brings to all affected by it. That also means that I open my wallet and give my time to help this worthy cause.

However, that's not my cause. That's not what grabs my heartstrings and yanks to the point where I can no longer do nothing. And really, I don't have a cause, I have two. The first is donating blood. I believe every healthy person should be willing to step up and donate, if not on a regular basis at least once in a while. I've watched my mom receive blood transfusions during her fight with the aforementioned disease, and I've seen the immediate effects of that 10 minute, slightly uncomfortable time someone else used to donate their own blood.

But, that's not the cause I wanted to talk about tonight. That's not what is currently on my mind. It's almost Christmastime. And I am so excited for it. The look of my kids opening their presents, the wonder in their eyes as we talk about the magic of Santa, the awe in their voices as I try to explain the real miracle and they question me about baby Jesus and His Father. I love this time of year. But what if you weren't able to give your kids presents? What if you weren't able to provide the big Christmas brunch and the turkey dinner? What if you were barely able to give them a piece of bread to eat and a pair of used tennis shoes to wear when the shoes they have been wearing for years are so worn out and painful to even put on? What's it like to be hungry? More than that, what's it like to watch your children be hungry?

Samaritan's Purse is an organization started by Billy Graham's son, Franklin Graham. It is an international charity that helps many people in many nations throughout the year. My favorite part of Samaritan's Purse, however, is their Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is simple, really. It doesn't cost much, and it doesn't take much work. All you have to do is fill a shoe box with gifts for a child in an underprivileged country. Coloring books and crayons. Dolls. Toothbrushes. Candies. Matchbox Cars. Books. Then drop it off during their annual collection week, and it will be sent to a child who needs it. Check out more details here: Operation Christmas Child.

Why is this "my cause", you might ask? Well, let me tell you! When I was 18, I went on a trip to Honduras to help build a medical clinic. When I was there, I was asked to come back and teach at a small school there. So I went home after my week-long trip, told my mom I was moving to Honduras, and just three months later I got on a plane by myself and moved to a third-world country where I knew no one other than the people I met during my one prior week there. It was just after Christmas, 2000. Shortly after arriving there, I assisted a church in an event to help the local children. They told me it was Operation Christmas Child and I'd be handing out presents to children who had never gotten a present in their lives. And from then on, I was hooked. Seeing a child in a tv commercial or in a picture is one thing. Seeing a poor, dirty, malnourished child in person receive their first doll, their first toothbrush, their first piece of chocolate is amazing. And heart-wrenching. And it is so much more so now that I am a mom myself. So I urge you, if you can, take the time and spend the money and help make a moment for a far away child that they will never forget. Check out the website, read the list of approved items, and look up a donation center. Drop-off week this year is Nov. 16-23. You may not get to see the face of that child opening their one and only Christmas present, but try to imagine it.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Christmas tugs at my heart badly too with all those little ones out there that don't get anything. I tend towards children organizations as well during the holidays. The last two years we've supported Olive Crest. A local organization for foster children that does great things with placement. They do a whole Christmas party with stockings and gifts for the local foster children in the area! Another wonderful organization!