Shared Stories

2016 stats: 27 Submissions
2017 stats: 19 submissions

2016 Shared Stories

Start early!

From: Grace - Philadelphia Pennsylvania

One of my favorite memories of giving during the holidays is from grade school.  One year, my teachers coordinated a gift drive, so that my classmates and I could provide a child in need with a gift for the holidays.  The thought of another child receiving a gift he or she may not expect warmed my heart.   This early lesson in the power of giving instilled in me a lifelong passion for helping others!

Tauck Employees Give Back with Thanks

From: Roni - Wilton Connecticut

For the past several years Tauck employees have participated in a Thanksgiving volunteer tradition with Person to Person in Norwalk.  Each year our employees meet at P2P to help hand out turkeys and Thanksgiving meal fixings to hundreds of families in need.  It is an event that Tauck employees look forward to.  It's a great time to stop the busy routine of our work lives and realize what we are all thankful for and to help those less fortunate so that they too have something for which to be thankful.  Our employees truly look forward to this event and always return with stories of how wonderful volunteering at this event makes them feel.

Toys for Kids in Need

From: Lisa - Stratford Connecticut

For many, many years now, I've been donating to Toys for Tots. Each year, I select a boy toy and a girl toy. Sometimes my selection is random, and other times I go where I can select a card from a tree with specifics on the child's age and preferences. Either way, I make the process fun, chatting with other shoppers to share in the holiday spirit. I love the idea of kids who are less fortunate being able to enjoy Christmas morning the way I did growing up with my family. It's so rewarding to play even a small part in helping these children enjoy that magical experience. 

Cup o' Ramen

From: Jacqueline - Brooklyn New York

When I was younger my mother and I would do a run to Costco and buy the ramen cup 'o Noodle carton in the hundreds. on our way to church, we would add hot water to the soup and hand them out to the men at the shelter on Atlantic avenue (in Brooklyn) with a bottle of water. It seemed like sucha small thing, handing out cup o' noodles, but, from my perspective, it meant soemhting to have something pipping hot in your hands and in your stomach on a cold NYC day. 

Toys for Tots

From: Kelly - Stamford Connecticut

Growing up I remember the joy of opening presents on Christmas Day and the feeling of excitement at not knowing what our parents might get. Donating to Toys for Tots was always one way to ensure other kids would have the same opportunity during the Holiday season. From books, to puzzles or even stuffed animals, it was important to help to spread the holiday spirit.

Cristina's Cards/Cookies/Cocoa + Ornament Exchange

From: Cristina - Milford Connecticut

This upcoming holiday season will be the fourth consecutive year I have been hosting a holiday card making party. I was recognized by Volunteer Square for this tradition a few weeks ago, but when I saw this opportunity to give back with service hours, I decided to share my tradition again. My friends and I make hundreds of greeting cards to send to elderly people residing in nursing homes. So far, I have sent over seven hundred cards and plan to grow the project every year. We write out heartfelt messages, decorate cheery envelopes, and last year began to add small gifts to the cards, such as paper snowflakes or small craft ornaments. While working, we also enjoy lots of homemade cookies and drink hot cocoa to elevate the festive spirit. The event is always fun, and while working together, we accomplish so much. I was inspired to begin this project when my great-grandmother was placed in a nursing home at ninety-eight years old. While visiting her, it was so upsetting to see the countless other lonely residents. Especially around the holiday season, these fragile people often do not have any visitors. Although it does not seem like much to us, a simple card can brighten someone's day. 

Christmas Tradition

From: Kevin - Trumbull Connecticut

Every year around Christmas time, me and my family go to church and pick up a "star" off of the tree that they have. Each star has an age group and a gender, and the purpose is to buy a gift for that person and return it back to the tree. We have done this every year for as long as I can remember, and it always makes us feel good that we could help someone have a better Christmas.

Holy Apostle's Soup Kitchen

From: Joseph C. - Kew Gardens, New York (Queens) New York

I asked to volunteer at the Soup Kitchen through my church in Manhattan ( St, Thomas Eposcopal Church ) and reported for duty at the Holy Apostle''s Soup Kitchen on Thanksgiving day.  I was on the serving line with about 12 to 15 people. The serving was continuous for about 3 hours or 3 1/2 hours that afternoon.  There were many more volunteers in the dining room in the church.  The homeless people reacted with much appreciation for a grand dinner.  Many wanted  a second helping which we had plenty of. We averaged about close to 2,000 people for Thanksgiving lunch.  I volunteered for Thanksgiving the next year also with approximately the same number of homeless and I also did lunch on Christmas day.  

At St. Thomas Church we have a Saturday Soup Kitchen where I and about 25 other members of the church prepare lunch bags for the homeless outside on the sidewalks of Manhattan generally in the area of St. Thomas. We packed a lunch bag consisting one sandwich a cup of soup and 3 assorted cookies.  After everything is packed, we then went out on the streets and passed out the lunch bags to people that we found to be homeless. 

Holiday Gifts

From: Mayx - Trumbull Connecticut

Each year I take my daughters to pick out gifts for people in need. This year we selected an 88 year old senior in need of basic necessities. The girls are excited to make her cards to include with the gift.

Treasured Memory

From: Leslie - Wethersfield Connecticut

My artist Mom volunteered at my school, starting a Christmas fair craft booth to raise money for library books. Summers through Thanksgivings we worked together making treasures to sell - participation was mandatory & standards high (these are Gifts!) eventually becoming a shared labor of love.

Mom felt kids should be able to shop regardless of parental income, pricing items at 5 cents and selling to children-only. The last hour prices were raised (these are Treasures!) and adults welcomed. Many talented and generous parents volunteered their time and skills. The wares, varied and beautiful, always sold out.  Our annual creations also included gifts for neighbors, senior home residents, kids in hospital – delivered with home made wreaths & cookies the week before Christmas. 

From reluctant crafter-delivery girl to wholehearted adult volunteer, my holiday season is forever connected to these early lessons: humble gifts made with love are treasures, and sharing your time creates joyous abundance and a life enriched.

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