2017 stats: 19 submissions
2016 Shared Stories
Happy Thanksgiving! Every year, my neighbor's hold a Basket Brigade at a local warehouse. We assemble hundreds of baskets filled with Thanksgiving dinners that will be donated to people who need them. We'll have assembly lines of turkeys and stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies! It's quite inspiring to see the magnitude of people who come to help out. It's a wonderful feeling to know that we have helped families have a memorable feast that they may not have had otherwise.
Holiday Season Volunteering
I am starting a fun, new tradition this year during the holiday season. I am going to help sell and deliver christmas trees shipped from Vermont. Sale proceeds go to a non profit organization. I'm looking forward to what will be a great experience.
When I was in middle school and highschool my family and I would wrap presents for the Evergreen Network's program for kids affected by HIV/AIDS. It was spearheaded by family friend, and lifelong giver Bernadette Baldino. We would get together and wrap presents for entire families, and some years we would deliver the presents. I remember delivering presents to a few families and thinking about how wonderful it must have been for them to be able to have a Christmas full of fun and surprises. These families were from Bridgeport, CT, and struggled with many hardships in addition to family members being affected by HIV / AIDS. We all felt blessed to be a part of such a wonderful giving tradition.
Generosity of strangers
I remember working with Evergreen Network, Inc. to help persons with HIV/AIDS at the holidays. I was always overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who donated food, clothing, toys and gifts to the organization's clients. The donors were the personifcation of the spirit of the holiday season.
One tradition, that started around 30 years ago in my family, was to go to the local post office the week after Thanksgiving. They would set aside all letters addressed to Santa and you could sit with a stack of them, read a bunch and then choose one or as many as you liked. You would then go and buy the gift or gifts (usually a warm coat, a certain doll or toy that year, etc) and wrap it up and bring it back. The post office would ship it off anonymously to the family right around Christmas Eve. My partner and I still do this every holiday season. We love it and look forward to it each year.
BOGO Turkey Dinner
Every year we get an extra turkey which we cook and bring to our local homeless shelter.
Honoring my Dad
My dad passed away in 2002 and that same year my husband and I began volunteering for a wonderful non profit in Bridgeport, Homes for the Brave. Homes for the Brave provides transitional housing for homeless veterans struggling with mental illness and substance abuse. There are 45 men in one residence and 12 women in another. Several times during the year we bring dinner to these Brave warriors who are working hard to overcome their personal struggles and lead productive lives. But the Christmas dinner we do at Homes for the Brave is very special to us. That dinner is in memory of my dad, who was a veteran of World War II and also struggled with mental illness. He was one of the lucky ones who overcame his illness and became both a successful lawyer and a superior court judge. Each year at Christmas my family is honored to give hope and holiday cheer to the men and women of Homes for the Brave in honor of our dad whose bravery certainly made him a hero to us all.