posted by Aunty Cindy
The holiday season is almost upon us. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!?! (Aunty stops shuddering and pulls herself together.) This year, instead of tearing out all your hair trying to find the right gift for that impossible person, I'd like to make a suggestion: Make a donation to your favorite charity. I'm sure you can think of one, but allow me to tell you about one of MY favorites.
I might not be here today if it were not for The American Red Cross.
No, fortunately I was not a victim of some terrible disaster and the Red Cross did not have to swoop in to offer me food and shelter. My story is a bit more personal and smaller in scope.
The year was 1943, and my paternal grandmother, Mary was a single mom struggling to raise her two sons (my father and his younger brother) in West Texas where she worked as a waitress in a cafe. Mary received a letter from her younger (and only) sister, who was living in California while her serviceman husband was fighting somewhere in the South Pacific. The letter did not contain good news. Little sis had suffered a miscarriage, and the doctor would not release her to go home from the hospital unless there was someone who could help take care of her. "Please come and help me!" little sis begged.
Mary wanted to, but she had no car and very little money. Then someone, perhaps a co-worker or customer, told her that the Red Cross helped the families of servicemen, so Mary went to the local office and talked to a woman who worked there. She showed the woman the letter and told her how much she wanted to go to California. The woman told Mary to go down the street to the bus station and find out how much one way tickets would cost for her and her two sons. Mary did, and quickly came back and told the woman the amount. The woman immediately wrote out a check and handed it to an astounded Mary.
But when Mary looked at the amount, she gave the woman back the check and said, "You've given me $20 too much."
The woman shoved the check back into Mary's hands and replied, "It's a long way to California and you'll need to feed those boys something."
A week or so later, Mary and her two sons arrived in California. They never went back to West Texas.
Without the help of the American Red Cross and that kind employee, Mary and her boys might never have made it to California. My parents never would have met. I wouldn't be here.
I make regular donations to the American Red Cross. This holiday season, I plan to make one in memory of my grandmother, Mary.
Please tell us, who are some of your favorite charities and why?