published 29 September 2011
I’m blessed to have remarkable parents who created opportunities for unforgettable experiences during my childhood. This is one of those experiences.
Leading up to Christmas one year, my parents gathered the family together and announced that we would be helping another family in need. This wasn’t foreign to us, as we had not only done the same before, but we had also been the recipients of similar giving during lean Christmases as a family.
The plan was simple: For 12 days leading up to Christmas, we would deliver a package with food, toys, and essential supplies. On the 12th day before Christmas, the package contained 12 items. On the 11th day, 11 items. And so on.
However, the package was to be delivered at night anonymously without the recipient family knowing who made the delivery. And there the fun began. Each night one of us was assigned to sneak up to the front door, place the package on the doorstep, pose in a runner’s stance with one finger on the bell, and then run like crazy after ringing it. The getaway car, cleverly disguised as a minivan, was just around the corner.
On Christmas Eve, I was entrusted with delivering the final package. We safely assumed the family was on to us by now, expecting a delivery sometime that evening. No tomfoolery this time, no sir. Thus, I was extra cautious as I approached the doorstep. Quiet as a mouse.
But to no avail. They knew we were coming. For there on the doorstep stood, not a person, but a card. It was placed atop a plate of homemade cookies. Essentially the card said this:
To our Secret Santa: Thank you. We can’t express enough gratitude for making Christmas wonderful for our family this year.
Years later, when the impact of that one night finally registered in my mind — and more importantly, my heart — I realized that we weren’t delivering packages that Christmas. We were changing lives. Real people with real needs and genuine gratitude for our family. (I have a hard time even typing these words, much less sharing the experience vocally, without getting a little emotional.)
I share this story as I request your help one final time to contribute to the Authentic Jobs charity: water campaign. Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. Real people with real needs, and I’m confident they possess genuine gratitude for those of us who can help.
Many of you have already made very generous donations: Myles Grant, Stefan Hartwig, Ryan Essmaker, Stefan Velthuys, Nate Tharp, Elliot Jay Stocks, Jeffrey Snider, Christine Rondeau, Mark Wyner, Sarah Fraser (on behalf of Jenna Dixon), Grant Hutchinson, Jason Ferrell, Veerle Pieters, Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain, Neutron Creations, and many more of you too numerous to mention here.
Our campaign concludes Monday, October 3. We’ve got a long ways to go to reach our goal. Give $3, the cost of a plate of cookies, if that’s all you have to spare. Or the $20 you would have spent on a shirt. Or $100 or more if your finances are healthy. Please, donate now.
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