I should be happy tonight-it is Christmas eve after all. In a few minutes, I will sit in the living room with my family and we will open one of many Christmas gifts under our tree and later we will drive over to midnight services at Zion Evangelical Lutheran church.
I should also be happy that my cupboards are full enough that I was able rummage through them to gather extra toiletries and food items.
I should be happy that my closet is overflowing with clothes; winter sweaters, jackets, jeans and extra shoes all waiting in a bag for another days use.
I should be happy that my bank account at this time can support our family’s needs and there’s money left over for an emergency.
And I should be happy that this year marked the largest fund drive the Road Home Shelter has ever had. Busting all records by thousands of dollars.
And I am happy for those things and yet, my friends, my heart is heavy this Christmas Eve.
I just returned from dropping off some of the items above. As I walked through the halls of the shelter to make a a cash donation, I passed middle aged men, young women and children. I walked past women who looked like me and children that looked like they could be my own. As I handed over my money, I learned that the amount of new residents is up 118%-many of whom are entire families recently displaced.
This hurts my heart for I know that with the loss of a job or two, our savings and extra food storage will be wiped out and we, familia Franti, could find ourselves residing in a shelter or using the emergency services.
Sound too dramatic?
You say, “c’mon Mel, that would never happen to you-you have family, friends. You have a savings”.
I say, it can happen to anyone.
My husband is not guaranteed to live and secure my future. I am not immune from losing my ability to work and my child is not immune from illness and medical costs exceeding our ability to pay.
Places like the Road Home Shelter cannot survive without our help. If you are in a heated home tonight reading this, I beg you to go through your closets, your food storage and gather unused items. We are LDS folk, we’ve got extra toilet paper, toothpaste, razors, towels, socks, blankets and jackets that are just waiting in a corner to be used with gratitude this season. If you got a little cash left over from Christmas shopping, donate that too. Keep in mind, it only cost $12 dollars to house and feed one person a night. Surely you have and extra $12 dollars?
Please. Make a donation to a local shelter, food bank, charity and help your less fortunate neighbors.