Street Tales: Christmas giving after Christmas is over

From the beginning of December on, it is very common to receive a call in the evening by a group wishing to donate extra food from a company supper. Just as common are calls to come down and volunteer during the Christmas season. For the person on the street, I’m sure they put on about 20 pounds during this season as well. What it shows is that Red Deerians have a very generous heart.

All through December companies are putting on large Christmas banquets, often using the venues that exist, including ours. It makes for many delicious leftovers, and an opportunity for these companies to reveal their generosity to the recipients.

On Dec. 12, Camdon Construction, under the direction of Vicki Tomalty, put on a huge supper at Potters Hands. The Saturday before, Abacus Datagraphics did a huge Christmas dinner at the United Church Hall. Between these two companies, we will, with the leftovers now in our freezers, have enough for about three or four meals, and for this we can only say thank you! There are many more companies who do this in different forms as well.

There is no denying the fact Christmas is a very special time, a period where a sense of generosity is expanded greatly, and all the different agencies that do this service on a full-time basis really appreciate the giving that we receive, but there is another angle to this story.

Consider this: we at Potters Hand’s in eight sittings put out close to 1,000 meals per week, 52 weeks a year, as for the others I’m not sure of their counts, but they will be high. The economic downturn made a huge difference to us all. So you can see, Potters Hands, Salvation Army, The Mustard Seed, and others, depend on your generosity year round.

Since our beginning, around the year 2000, I have been completely impressed with the giving nature of the people of Red Deer, and surrounding communities. It is not unusual to have a stranger knock on the kitchen door, talk about what’s happening on the street and then with compassion write a cheque or make a cash donation. The amounts vary according to what that person has determined is able to give. Even one of our clients (one of the working poor) stopped in one day and handed me $40. This blew me away, because I know that she could ill afford it; she has children to buy for, but compassion along with gratitude prompted her to give. In my mind, people like her give compassion a whole new meaning.

Something about this season of the year touches people in that they recognize just how much they have and that there are folks out there who have very little, so they want to participate. It’s like Thanksgiving and Christmas giving all rolled into one.

One of the sad realities of this business of feeding the hungry is the number of needy continues to grow, and although addiction is a choice, it is one made with a reasoned history so judgments don’t help much; compassion and caring do. Sometimes, I would like to snap my fingers, and it would all have been a bad dream, but when it is constantly in your face, all you can do is respond.

Now that Christmas day has passed, it is our desire that when you gathered together with family and friends to celebrate the reason, that you may have had a blessed time together and may you continue to enjoy the great prosperity we have in this beautiful country, and from all of us at Potters Hands Ministries thank you for you continued support.

Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potters Hands.

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