Gifts that Give

A couple about to be married register at Target, asking their wedding guest to purchase as gifts items that can be distributed by Love INC, an organization that brings Christian churches together to help the poor. “We’re both simple people and we like to live simple lives without a lot of materials. There are a lot of people in need and we wanted a way to help them out,” said the couple.

A young man about to celebrate his bar mitzvah, asks guests to donate money to buy sport supplies for an inner city school. A sports enthusiast, he can’t imagine kids not being able to participate in sports because their school can’t afford the equipment.

A 10-year old girl asks her friends to bring a pack of diapers to her birthday party in lieu of gifts to donate to young mothers with limited income.

So many of us have so much more than we need, while so many others lack basic goods and opportunities, raising the question: are we doing enough to help our brothers and sisters?

The people in these stories – a couple in my parish, the son of some friends of mine, and a young girl in the Twin Cities – all found creative ways to give. Ways to add meaning to their special days by acts of generosity and kindness. They inspire me and encourage me to find ways to give more. May they inspire you also.

P.S. If you are looking for a worthy cause, my friend Aidan Rooney, a Vincentian priest currently stationed in the Vincentian mission in Bolivia, has developed several projects to help the people there, including building a church. For descriptions and instructions on how to give, read more here.