Holiday Volunteering is Bloody Hard Work!
So I am no stranger to volunteering during the holidays. But never has it been more apparent to me that holiday volunteering is bloody hard work. This year I own a business. This year I offered a local Pagan nonprofit the use of my store for their annual Yule Tree Project. Its like the Angel Tree Project or Toys for Tots only on a larger scale. See Sisterhood Is Powerful (SIP) doesn’t just provide presents for kids. They provide Clothing, Blankets, Coats and Food in addition to Toys to both Adults and Children. Yes, you read that correctly. They provide for both adults and children. I emphasized this fact so you can get some scope for what I’m about to tell you.
SIP had 120 people on this years list. 120 men, women and children who might not have had a Christmas if not for the efforts of SIP. Only a handful of the children on the list were adopted by people to receive gifts. SIP pulled together donations and funding to provide for the rest. Now that’s not really the amazing part even. See the effort begins in August. Months before Yule. They gather donated clothing, toys and furniture. Some of it not in the best shape. They repair it, clean it and sort it. Then before Yule they gather it all in one place and begin the arduous task of wrapping and gift bagging it all. And they never complain! This year I offered up my store for that task since I have plenty of space for it. Now here’s the real kicker. There are only a small handful of people to do all of this. Starting in August. There are only about 5 people who are involved in this process and not all five of them at once either. In recent years only the head of SIP has been doing the wrapping because there is no one else to do it!
And she does it in the most efficient way possible. I’m not even kidding. She has a system that she has down so well it’s practically an art form. But there aren’t enough people to make it the speedy process it should be. In the last 4 days she, two of her helpers and I sorted, wrapped, bagged and tagged almost 500 items for 120 men, women and children. And thanks to her system it went as smoothly as it could for only having 4 people to do the work of 10. And we’re not even done yet! We still need to put up the tree and get ready for the party. Did I mention that there’s a party for all this? Yeah. They invite all the people on the list to come open a few presents, have something to nosh on and celebrate what they might otherwise have missed out on. And she and her few helpers do it all with next to no help. This is amazing to me and amazing to be a part of.
So while you’re out shopping for your little ones or going to Christmas gatherings take a second and remember the people who volunteer or consider lending a hand even if its just for a day because there are almost never enough hands to do all the work that needs to be done. Especially since the need has risen so very high in the last few years.
Happy Holidays Everyone!