Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks for giving

Just a few things and a special Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in blogging. I hope you all have delicious dinners and many things to be thankful for.

As some of you might know, I work for the local Food Pantry. I think the past few weeks of announcements by various media outlets have resulted in a windfall for us. We have more donations, turkey coupons, and fixin's for Thanksgiving than you can shake a stick at. Our Pantry is truly a cornucopia of goodies.

Here's the other half of that equation-letters of thanks...by me...to a multitude of donors, civic groups, and churches. We are actually coming up on enough of a mail load to justify getting a bulk rate. Problem with that is that one month it will be 20 letters and one month it will be 100. Some letters are just thanks for the food donation that require no dollar amount listed for tax purposes. Some are dollar amounts that do need tax deductible notice. Some are donations in memory of someone who had died. That requires two letters. One informing the family of the deceased of the donation and another to thank the donor. Some letters are to children who raise money selling things and collecting groceries, delivering them and stocking the shelves. They do this for various reasons including honor society credit, and part of a church group or scouts. I've tried to think of ways to make form letters-doesn't work. Nearly all of the donations require personal attention in some way. Up till this year the cost of stamps was high but still sane. This year stamps- 40 cents. Multiply that by a couple of hundred for November and December- It's a lot and it's a lot of moolah. I make a very special effort to make the letters meaningful and I have painted myself into a corner because now, people write the Pantry letters complimenting my letters and my letters have, indeed become a well-known part of the Pantry experience. I always imagined a life in letters- Be careful what you wish for.

Seriously, I have formed a deep friendship with some folks in the community who I might never have known. Some of them are the donors and some the people in need. We are becoming a nation of people who hardly ever have fellowship with each other and so I guess this is my form of fellowship. Some of the stories that go with the lives I see played out at the Pantry are desperate and awful. Mothers with autistic children that have been abandoned by spouses. Men who have fought for this country and then been abandoned and left alone and frightened. Families that have fallen apart financially and cannot make ends meet. We can be the kind of people who turn away and say "It's someone else's problem" "they made a mess of their lives, why do I have to pay for it?" I guess, even when faced with the mountain of mail and cost of postage, it is the humanity of people that puts things into perspective. The humor of people makes thing bearable. The dignity of people who have little that makes me thankful. Maybe one of the blessing of my life is that I know what it means to be afraid and alone. Compassion is needed.

For the next few days I'll be trying to catch up with the mail. I'll leave you with a picture of the lime green beech leaves in my yard, which by now have probably frozen in place. Later....

Addendum-thanks to everyone who wrote a comment. It's a big job but the least I can do. I'm fortunate to have the ability to stay home and not have to go out to work. That's a gift and I feel I should do something worthwhile with some of that time. I did 57 letters today and since our conversation yesterday I put my tiny brain into gear to find a way to combine some of the letter styles so that all that was required was a change of address on some. See...chatting with you all makes me have better organizational skills(heh)- Oh! and thank God you don't have to lick stamps anymore!!Yay to the Post Office.