Saturday, December 11, 2010

Operation Santa

Volunteers, presents galore, and families in need

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

I think many people would agree that the "Christmas Spirit" is about giving back, and doing for others.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the shopping, decorating, and baking that we forget and think that we are in the Christmas Spirit because we have turned the tree lights on, have cookies baking in the oven, and are wrapping presents with shiny bows. 

Troy and I joined a group from church and volunteered at Operation Santa, sponsored by Della Lamb, in downtown Kansas City.  This was our first time volunteering with this organization and we had no idea what to expect.  We were a bundle of nerves and excitement. 

Nervous for the unknown.  Would be helpful or just in the way?  Would this experience live up to our expectations?  What were our expectations?  What were we about to experience?  Who would be meet?  Excited for the possibilites...

Troy and I decided to work together as "shoppers", because we fit the qualification as "strong minded people"...or maybe because it sounded like the most fun!  This meant we would be assigned a family, usually represented by either the mom or dad, and would be their personal assistants/shoppers for their experience.  There were so many opportunities to volunteer in a variety of ways, but in the end we felt like we choose the right experience for us. 

I met a lot of people today, including a 4 year old girl who was picking out her own Christmas presents, but one woman really touched me and made me think.  This elderly lady was alone, so she got to choose a gift for herself.  There were 4 long tables of adult gifts, but this lady didn't need to look around.  She knew what her gift would be as soon as she saw it, and no amount of persuading by me could convince her to look any further.  She wanted lotion.  No fancy Bath and Body Works lotion, just a plain bottle of moisturizing lotion.

How many bottles of lotion do I have sitting around my house?  I have several scents piled up on the top of my dresser, a couple more in the bathroom, and a few random ones laying around the house.  A shortage of lotion around here is when I have no more NEW bottles of lotion.  I take lotion for granted.  I can't always afford the latest scents from Bath and Body Works, but I have something to keep my skin moisturized in the dry winter months.  She just wanted a simple bottle of lotion. 

Another lady I shopped with said she had been in line since 5am, and we didn't start until 9am.  She stood in the cold for 4 hours so that she could get some Christmas presents and a bag of groceries for her family.  Four hours in the freezing weather so that her children would have something to open on Christmas morning.  I don't need anything to open...those kids do. 

For the past couple weeks I have been complaining that I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas Spirit, and kept hinting to God that perhaps some snow would help.  Today I gave up my morning to sleep in, filled the car up with gas AGAIN, and drove an hour to volunteer at Operation Santa.  I spent my morning with amazing people who are truely appreciating the small things in life, like  lotion. 

When we left I saw my first snowflakes of the season.  I spent the rest of my day admiring the light, white dusting that God finally sent down.  I didn't need snow to get me into the Christmas Spirit; snow was the reward I experienced for finding the Christmas Spirit.

Getting ready to shop with our first family!!

1 comment:

  1. I too had an experience at Della Lamb with lotion. I saw a lady pull a piece of plastic wrap out of her pocket. At first, I thought she was going to lick the last of the vanilla frosting off of her snack wrapper. Then I realized she had a tiny dab of lotion wrapped up in a piece of plastic wrap and she was rubbing it on her hand. I take for granted the small bottle of lotion I carry in my purse or pocket. It was definitely a reminder that sometimes the simplest things can be out of reach for those in need.

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