Every year a group of people at Cargill organize an opportunity for Cour employees to adopt a family for Christmas. My friend Jaime does this every year and has talked about how rewarding it is for her and her family, and this year, I was inspired to do the same.
My family of four was forwarded from Perspectives, a multi-service agency whose services provide prevention, intervention, and recovery programs for vulnerable, at-risk families and children whose lives have been derailed because of addiction, homelessness, and/or mental illness. I was provided a list of their names, ages and what they’d like for Christmas; the single mother is 29, and she as three girls from ages 6 months to 8 years old.
When I first received my family, I thought about the time I was a single mom with two boys under the age of five. I made enough to cover the necessities, but I had to count pennies to provide anything extra like taking the kids to a Disney movie. I can empathize with these families to some extent; however, I’m fortunately that I’ve not had issues with mental illness and/or addiction. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be not only for the children, but also for the parents struggling to provide a well-balanced and healthy life for their children.
Their wish lists included clothes, Michael Jackson poster, mattress pad, Lion King DVD, Disney toys and shoes. I remembered how much my boys disliked getting clothes for Christmas, even though they were needed, so I tried to balance clothes (need) with toys (want) – for Mom as well. I enjoyed shopping for them, especially since my kids no longer want gifts, but instead ask for money – leaving the floor beneath my Christmas tree very bare!
As I wrapped and bagged the gifts for delivery, I wished my adopted family happiness worth more than Christmas gifts, and I said a word of thanks for nonprofits, like Perspectives, that make the world a better place.