by: Cari Ann DeLamielleure

It’s that time of year again when the Salvation Army volunteers take their posts outside stores, Christmas songs play on the radio, and people are searching for sales in local newspapers to buy presents for the holidays.

But what happens to the ones who cannot afford presents? What happens to the kids when they return to school with nothing to “show off?”

To some, this idea of not receiving or giving presents is merely invisible. We don’t worry about where our next meal is going to come from or how we will keep warm during the winter season. But the reality is that more people need help than we realize.

How many times a week do you buy a morning coffee or pay for a meal at a restaurant? We forget that though we can afford these luxuries, others cannot. They have become the unnoticeable disadvantaged, poor, and venerable. 

So, how can we go about facing this reality and forgetting about ourselves? I know what you are thinking: “Money is tight right now.” Well, what about those who can’t afford and need food, jackets for the frigid Michigan weather, or even supplies for school projects? Don’t you think it is about time we help them?

One way is to participate in food banks, soup kitchens, or even international relief organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, which you would know as Operation Christmas Child. For you, it is giving up a specialty coffee or a new book. For them, it is a new doll, a pair of socks, and a changed life.

Lately, it is difficult for me to get to a soup kitchen or food bank to donate my time. Luckily, there is a project at Madonna that has a convenient and successful way for me to continue giving back to others. 

Since around 1991, Madonna’s Student Government Association, combined with Campus Ministry, established a way for students, staff, and faculty to get into the charitable spirit. Christmas for Kids is a community based project and a way for every person at Madonna to donate.

“It’s a great program that helps kids to have hope in a world where sometimes the under privileged are ignored,” said Neal Card, a junior Social Studies major.

Last year, the Christmas for Kids Project helped approximately 64 families, and seven Madonna families. Every family that we help receives a Christmas dinner that includes a turkey and the fixings, while the children receive a toy, a book, and an article of clothing, said Card.

Like the Salvation Army taking its posts, the time has come for all of us to fill Madonna classrooms with donations. I know money is tight now, but how much is canned stuffing or peanut butter setting you back – at the most, $3.

Even through the hard times, children have a way of turning darkness into light. So, it’s about time we shed light in their lives through providing a holiday experience that they and their families will remember.

There are obstacles for donators, but there don’t have to be. Yes, the semester is coming to an end, and we are all swamped with work. Students are studying and writing papers, while professors and instructors are grading and preparing for their next lecture. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t take the time to focus on the bigger picture – the people who need our help, especially in our community.

So avoid the drive-thru, and put that money toward someone in need. The smallest gesture makes all the difference. So whether you are pouring soup or donating toys, I promise you, though you can’t always see it, you are changing a life.

If you would like more information about the Christmas for Kids Project, please contact Neal Card or Edna Rankine, Student Wellness Coordinator. You can also start bringing your donations to room 1001.


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Focus on the big picture this Christmas season