I know this blog is supposed to be about Gracie and Luke. However, half of the time, I find myself wanting to write about things completely unrelated to them. This blog is not supposed to be my soapbox. Today, I've decided to hijack the blog for a worthy cause.
We are very lucky. I have a job that allows us a home, food, clothing, and more. There are many families today who don't have those things because of the economy. Occasionally, I think of what our lives would be like if I lost my job. What would we do? Where would we go? I distinctly remember going to the Welfare Office with my mom when I was little. I remember sitting in the lobby and then crawling under the little overhang she wrote on during her interview. I remember her relief when they gave us money for food. That was one of the hardest things my mom ever had to do.
When we were displaced by the Sayre Fire, I saw first hand how amazing people can be. You expect the Red Cross to show up when there is a disaster. You expect it, but you don't realize how much they do. If you've never been to a shelter, then you don't know how desperate things feel there. The Red Cross Volunteers do their best to make the "refugees" comfortable, but it is still a shelter. They coordinate donations, feed, and house those who have been displaced. They keep them safe from the media and allow them to get much needed rest.
The one group I never saw coming was the Salvation Army. You see them at Christmas time and I vaguely remember seeing a thrift store or two. But I've never seen them in action. Until November 15th. The Salvation Army worked with the Red Cross in the most amazing coordinated effort I have ever seen. They brought hot food to the high school as we all waited to see the destruction at Oakridge. They gave us water, clothing, comfort. They gave those who were displaced vouchers for their thrift stores so that they could find comfort in clothing and furniture that are our own. In short, the Salvation Army stepped up to help and they did things for us that we never would have expected. They were amazing.
Back to the food issue. The Salvation Army has food banks all over the country. As the economy has gotten worse and worse, they've seen more and more people come to them for help. At the same time, donations to the food banks have dropped dramatically. In fact, the Salvation Army has seen a 34% decrease in monetary donations over the past 3 years. The United Way used to donate $250,000 to the Salvation Army Food Bank. Now, they are only sending $50,000.
So, why am I throwing all of these numbers at you? Because any of us might find ourselves in the situation where we might need the Salvation Army's help. We might find ourselves in need and the Salvation Army would step up, even if they had very little to help.
Today, a local radio station is sponsoring Operation Feed Our Families to help the Salvation Army. If you live in Southern California, you can donate nonperishable food items directly. If you don't, you can donate money through the special website set up for this event. If you have been planning to donate money to a charity this holiday season, I hope you will consider donating to the Salvation Army. Not only because of how amazing they are, but because the work they do is so very important.
If you can't contribute today, then please consider emptying your coin purse for the bell ringers this holiday season. Charities are being hit hard by the downturn in the economy and they are having to cut back how they help people. How amazing would it be if we could make it so that they can't even tell there is a recession from the number of donations?!