This post was sponsored by CommunityAmerica, but all opinions are completely my own.
When I was heading into the ninth grade, my parents divorced. At that time, all I knew was that my dad was no longer around and that my mom was taking care of my sister and I. My mom’s financial picture was something I knew nothing about…at least not at first.
As time went on, my mom struggled to make ends meet. We never went without food. However, we did not spend as we had previously. Money was definitely tight. Through all of it though, what I remember most is that we were all happy.
In fact, we were all happier after the split. We no longer had to deal with many of the stresses we had in our lives previously. In my situation, it actually was a blessing for all of us.
The financial situation for my mom worsened. She did not qualify for any governmental assistance as she made too much money. That meant clipping coupons, getting only what we needed and very little else.
One Christmas, things were especially tight for my mom. Not only did she need to keep us in our home and feed us, but Christmas was coming. In that moment, we learned what wealth was.
One evening, my mother found a box at our door. It contained food, presents and money. The note was not signed, but simply told her that she needed to give us all a good Christmas. To this day, we still have no idea who did this.
CommunityAmerica Credit Union has been sharing stories about the true meaning of wealth all year long. For me, and for CommunityAmerica, wealth has nothing to do with money. For me, and for CommunityAmerica, wealth is in the blessings you have and those you can give. When you help others, you are sharing your wealth.
It does not always mean giving money to someone, but just the goodness in your heart For me, wealth has nothing to do with money. For me, wealth is in the blessings you have and those you can give. When you help others, you are sharing your wealth. It does not always mean giving money to someone, but just the goodness in your heart.
Wealth happens when you hold a door open for someone. It is in smile you share with the person who may look as if he is having a bad day. Wealth is putting others ahead of yourself.
I’ve never forgotten about the wealth that was shared with our family. It’s been nearly 30 years since someone helped us…and I still remember it. It had such a profound affect on me that I knew when I grew up, I wanted to do the same for others. And, I’ve held true to that dream.
For years, my family and I adopted angels from our local angel tree. However, I felt this pull to help someone else in the same way I was helped years earlier. I finally found the opportunity to adopt a family and give them a Christmas filled with food and presents. My mom joined me and for more than 6 years, we’ve done this. This year CommunityAmerica contributed funds to help us do even more. All for someone we don’t even know. This year
Each November, we are contacted by my church and given the details about a family in need. We learn their story. One year it was a single mom trying to work 2 jobs and go to college while taking care of 3 children. This year, Dad became injured and could not work, so they could not afford much for their 4 kids. Learning the stories makes giving so much more personal as I can relate to every person I help.
We always want to stretch our shopping budget as much as possible. That means getting up bright and early on Black Friday! This is not a day where I focus on my family, but rather, this family in need. While I do get a few things for them, it is more about finding items for a family in need.
We get up at 3:30 every Friday morning and head out to the stores. We’ve created our own routine which always begins at a specific store and winds us through the city making many stops along the way.
As we visit each store, the my minivan begins to look more and more like Santa’s sleigh. It is fun to pile all of the awesome toys, clothes and things that they need on top of one another.
By the time we get home, we’ve picked up new clothes for each of them – which may even include a new winter coat. There is always socks and underwear (because that is always a need). We get everyone 3 – 4 small toys and a few items for their Christmas stocking. We never forget mom and dad either – as they deserve a gift too! Finally, we get an early gift which is a family night. It includes a game, movie and popcorn so they can spend an evening together.
I don’t do this for accolades. I don’t do it for gratitude. I do it because of who I am. The wealth of blessings in my heart are why I want to do this for someone else. For me, wealth is sharing the best of myself with others.