Sunday, December 23, 2012

Yes, it is Christmas. Over the next 2 days hopefully you will be doing something different from your ordinary lives like visiting someone or lucky enough that someone wants to visit you. Share a special meal with someone and give a gift. A day to do something special and reflect on your life, look around you and be glad that who you are with still wants to be with you. A time to feel good. Be glad that your house didn’t get destroyed in some recent storm or that that little child you are looking at is still alive to grow.

I know that this sounds like Thanksgiving talk but it is also about donating money to your favorite charity time. Just look in your mail box.Most letters even come with check off boxes asking for a specific amount of money for you to donate to a large charity where as much as 75% of your donation can go to administrative costs. There are many people that work for charities that make a very good six figure income from your donation.

I like the way this guy donates to people. Recently there have been sightings of a Secret Santa in the Staten Island area of New York near where many people have lost much of their belongings to the storm there a few years ago. He is Santa because he gives money away. Secret because he really does not want his identity to be made public. When you get involved in a large charity there are forms to be filled out with them wanting to know a lot of personal information.

The people hit hard by recent storms have no interest in celebrating Christmas this year partly because they have either no house to decorate or no decorations in the house. The people of Staten Island were once so down in spirit they hated that they were selling Christmas trees in the neighborhood. They should be selling contracts for someone to repair or rebuild their homes right there with their insurance agent.

Hurricane Sandy hit Staten Island and southern New Jersey the hardest and that is exactly why Secret Santa is there. He wears a red and black The Northern Face fleece and a red hat. Ok well maybe that is what the modern day Santa suit is supposed to look like. He will not let reporters reveal his face on camera but he will reveal that he is a wealthy businessman from Missouri.

Every December he goes to the cities and towns in America he thinks need him most. So it is something like Santa who reads his list twice to make sure he delivers his packages to the right places too. He then gives away hundred dollar bills. About $100,000 dollars worth per season. All to random strangers he finds in thrift stores, Laundromats and soup kitchens.

A lot of these people haven’t even ever seen a hundred dollar bill. They are dirt poor and often don’t even know where there is a charity to ask for a donation. That involves a lot of administrative form filling out with restrictions of how you can even collect a donation. Yup. Those people running the charities really earn their salaries. NOT. The joy he feels in getting that hug after giving some money directly in the hand of someone in need is instant gratification. The miracle of a total stranger walking up to you and handing you money is like a dream come true to the people in need.

When asked, “What are you going to do with that money?” the usual answer is to go buy food or to share it with other family members that need cash. No selfishness there. Some frame the money in a picture frame because it represents the kindness more than a little lift.

Hope is what he gives out. Hope that things will change for the better soon and that the people who get the money will snap out of their sadness and look forward to a new life. He happened to find someone in a Salvation Army store who lost her entire home in the storm. He gave her $300. Yes any hundred is nothing when it takes thousands of dollars just to have the basics in life. Santas are there to make us smile a bit and have that moment of comfort that everything is going to be ok. Be ok this Christmas Eve!


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