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By 3blackdogs, bookgrrl
December 20, 2002

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Every year around this time, we are surprised and delighted by the generosity displayed in the Fool Community for those less fortunate. Here are two boards, and two groups of people working together to make the season a lot brighter.


BBQ, Art of, Fun(ky), The

The Final Story on the Santa Project

My Dear QHeads:

I am sending my check to bookgrrl tomorrow on behalf of you generous souls for the Santa Project. Though many of you requested anonymity, here's a few fast facts that you may enjoy:

**22 separate pledges from 15 different states
**Most were board regulars, but there were a couple of TMF strangers or else very deep lurkers that chipped in!
**Several spouses got into the act and helped the cause
**One poster's mom helped with their family donation
**Another poster's 84 yr old dad, when he found out what the poster was up to, insisted on matching the pledge and added his own check
**One board regular was chatting with an old pal and happened to mention what we were doing - this friend wrote a check on the spot and sent it on to me

And if this doesn't give you hope for the future, I don't know what will:

The 16 year old niece and 14 year old nephew of one of our board regulars insisted on donating the Christmas gift money they had saved up to spend on each other when they heard about the Santa Project. (These hard-working kids already volunteer their time at a center for severely developmentally disabled kids, in addition to working jobs on weekends.) Our intrepid QHead immediately told them he'd match their contribution, reinforcing their altruism, in addition to making his own donation.(And the best part is that they sent their school picture along with the check - they are ensconced forever on my refrigerator photo farm!)

Almost all of the checks have arrived - thank you - and every one of you sent a note echoing the sentiment of wishing to do more.

But you have done more today than you probably realize.

The pledges added up to $1285.

And as I tried to say to each of you as I acknowledged your individual pledges and checks, take time to feel good about what you have done - and what I'm sure you do all the time: you've eased the burden of those folks that have less good fortune. And as my friend Chez said to me in an email:

take comfort in the fact that our efforts in this project are going to result in hundreds of hungry folks & kids having warm, full tummys real soon ~ but more importantly...even if it's just for one will give them HOPE.

I'm stealing Miz Wiley's closing, because I can't think of a more appropriate one:

Grace and Peace to You All!



Foolish Elves - Acts of Kindness


Guys, I've been looking for that Chicago church I told you about - the one that feeds all the homeless and needy families on Christmas. All I knew was that it was somewhere in the 9000s on Ashland. We've been driving up and down in the early evenings, with no luck. We've been frustrated and increasingly disheartened, and I was losing my sense that the Santa Project would, as always, have a happy ending.

Finally, we decided to drive up and down the avenue on a Sunday morning, in the hopes that a crowd of Sunday churchgoers would help us find the church. The problem was, this area of the city is extremely poverty-stricken and desolate. In addition, complicating our search was the enormous number of tiny, out-of-the-way, and/or unidentified churches in that part of town.

This morning, we got up very early, packed up some coffee, and trundled off in the car again. This time, we got lucky right away - a huge hand-made banner in front of a small storefront church ("HELP US FEED 3,000 HOMELESS MOTHERS AND CHILDREN") let us know that we had finally found the place!

I walked right in and talked to the folks there. They are simply amazing. I have to say, I have really been down since the miscarriage - just sort of trudging through life. But there was something about this place that made me feel, for the first time in a long time, really good. These people clearly have a mission, and they were working feverishly to complete it.

I told them that I have many friends across the world who, every year, get together to help some kids. They were amazed and delighted and so grateful.

They said that they need the following items most of all:
- Toys for the homeless kids
- Turkeys or hams for the moms and kids (many people donate food, but almost no one donates meat)

Toys, mittens, scarves, and other goodies for children can be mailed directly to the church at:

United Church of Christ/Paul Hall Center
9039 South Ashland
Chicago, IL 60620
Telephone: 773-881-0092, 773-298-1209

I have no idea how to donate food - I guess if some of you want to send me some grocery store gift certificates, I could purchase turkeys and then deliver them myself. It seems like it would be awfully hard to mail a turkey. (But why can't it just fly there? Ha! Ha! <groan>).

As I was leaving, a woman followed me out to the car and put her hand on my arm. I turned around and she embraced me. She said, "Please tell your friends that we bless them for what they intend to do here, and for what they will do, and for what is in their hearts."

As we were driving home, I was thinking that every year I have to learn this same lesson over again - that you start out doing good because you think it's for other people, but then somewhere along the way, you realize that it's actually for you - it's to save your own life.


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