Holidays are about being with family at home and having wonderful meals together. But more than 40 million Americans struggle with hunger and many don’t have a place to call home. Even in suburban counties such as my own this is a problem. So, this holiday season I am donating funds to the City Mission in Washington, PA. The City Mission is a place where anyone in our county can find basic services such as food, shelter and medical care when needed. They also offer many programs for care and recovery to help people get back on their feet after traumatic life events.
Beyond the donation, and the help it will provide, I also plan to educate my daughter on what the City Mission does and why it is so needed. The examples of hardship that are not happening in a faraway country, ridden with corrupt politicians and wars, but in our life, within a few miles from our home might help her understand the need and acquire a desire to help others around the holiday time and beyond.
The idea of being poor is scary. Scary even for an adult. There is the shame and stigma to being poor. Often times we imagine the worst when we think who lives at the shelter or comes to the city shelter for food. They may be rough, bitter, and hurtful. Not to mention dangerous. The idea might even be scarier to a child. At the same time, teaching our daughter what it means to struggle in life, to have nobody to turn to for help may help her make the right choices later in life. They say by giving back you get “sense and grace.” We hope to get a sense of satisfaction, and that we can all appreciate how fortunate we are to have such basics like food and shelter.
I’ve grown up thinking that nothing can be better than the family get-together around the holiday table. Those gatherings were the highlights of my childhood, which I still remember as an adult. I hope this donation to the City Mission can help create a ‘family’ meal atmosphere and sense of home for those who are struggling in my area.
written by Julia Muller