Yesterday, someone broke into the school where all the donations for our local holiday drive are stored and wiped them out. Over $4000 worth of toys, too much food to measure, blankets and clothes were taken. Distribution is on the 18th, so now the organization is scrambling to have something for the 800 children, 300 families, and 100 seniors they've promised assistance this holiday season.
This makes me just sick. Physically ill. I don't get it, I really, really don't. Yes, I know the world is a bad place, bad things happen, people are killed, people are sick, etc. But this was a willful act of robbery, a deliberate choice someone made to steal from those who are in desperate need of it this season. Who the fuck do they think they are? That sense of self-entitlement and callous behavior leaves me shaking with fury.
I'll admit, holiday drives like this are very special to me. I might be overreacting a little because of that. But see, when I was a kid, I was on the other side of this equation. My dad abandoned my mom and the four of us when I was 7. I was the oldest, and my mom didn't have a college education. We lived with my grandmother, and my mother worked at least two jobs if not more to make ends meet, 80+ hours a week. Two years in a row, my mother swallowed her pride and went to the local donation drive so we could have something for Christmas. By the time I was 11, she was doing all right enough not to have to do that anymore, but that was when she started teaching us about giving back. "They were there for us when we needed them," she told me and my sibs. "Now it's our turn to be there for them."
Not a Christmas has gone by where I haven't made it a point to give to families in need. My abusive ex-husband used to get furious with me about it, because one year, I went out and bought three bags of groceries for a woman who stood on the street begging. "You know that's a waste, don't you?" he said to me.
Except it's not. I didn't give her money. I gave her *food*. Nothing anybody ever says to me will change my mind that giving to others will ever be a bad thing. Especially at this time of year, I know what that value is, how much it can cost someone to have to reach out and ask for help when all you want to do is provide for your family. This is what Christmas is to me. This is why I love/need to give gifts like I do. Because this isn't about how much stuff you can accumulate. It's about love, and generosity of spirit, and sharing joy because just maybe, for a couple days a year, the world doesn't have to be a hard and terrible place to live in.
ETA: I didn't link to the original public notice because I didn't want people to see this as a plea for helping them, but since some have asked, here it is. We're a smaller community, and they don't have Paypal unfortunately, but you know, if you haven't already, I'd suggest finding your local charity handling donations and give to them. People need help all over the place. I've been on the phone already this morning mobilizing for local help, so it's going to be tight, but we should ultimately be okay. Hopefully. Thank you so much everyone for listening and reminding me of the inherent goodness in people. *hugs*