Growing up my mom created a tradition that I have never forgotten. Every winter, she would load us three girls in the car to go coat shopping…not for us, but for others. It was always FREEZING outside on the day we would go; I don’t know if part of her tactics were to help us kids imagine how someone could be living out in the conditions without a jacket, or with holes in it, but it worked. As children we learned sympathy – imagining what it would be like to not have a jacket this winter and living in the cold, and we learned action – that we can actually do something to help others who can’t buy one. Now, we didn’t have all the money in the world, so we hit every thrift store we could, sorted through all the jackets only buying the best, warmest, nicest jackets we could find. My mom would load them in the car and we would take them downtown to the Rescue Mission where you could see many homeless men and women going in and out, seeking warmth, shelter, food or company. Seeing so many people in the cold made my little kid heart break – in a good way. I believe moments like this, bringing your kids into the spreading of Christmas HOPE and showing LOVE to those you don’t even know, is the key to shaping kids to care for the broken, hurting and hopeless – now and in the future.
So this Christmas: I ask you to consider, how can you give to another you don’t even know and then take action? There is a chance you may not be able to afford to go jacket shopping this year, even at the thrift store, but I bet you could sort through your own personal jackets or find one item or an piece of clothing to help keep others warm this winter. And while you are at it, if you have kids, bring them in on it as well. Ask them to find something of theirs to give. It doesn’t have to be some extravagant service project to teach your kids how to bring hope to others this season, it can be something as simple as them giving something personal of theirs (toy, clothing item, etc) to help another.
If you live in Colorado Springs or Denver, consider giving your items to Crossfire Ministries, Springs Rescue Mission or Denver Rescue Mission. All of these organizations give your donations directly to the many people they help each day. Crossfire Ministries, lets people come in and ‘shop for free’ for food, clothes, household items and more! It is an awesome place to donate and to serve at. Their address is:
2120 East LaSalle Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
(Near Constitution and Union)
If you are in Denver, check out the Denver Rescue Mission:
3501 E. 46th Avenue
Denver, CO 80216