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Blessing Of The Gifts blesses everyone for the holidays

Posted Dec 03 2009 5:47am
Every year for the past eight years, I’ve joined friends, church members, colleagues and others who have participated in a program that we call Blessing Of The Gifts.

Like many other organizations in our community, we collect various simple gifts for the forgotten, poor and needy in our community.

There’s more. After the donations are sorted and packaged, we mound them in the center of the room in a great big pile and give the packages our blessing – all the goodness and love and strength that we can muster.

The gifts, after all, are only a token. It is the love that we send that’s important. At this time of year, we all want to feel as if we have something valuable to give and can make a difference in our world. When we do, it feels good.

This idea – that charity has wellness benefits – is beginning to be documented. A recent Canadian study found said spending as little as $5 on others helped change mood and feelings about self. For instance, staff who got bonuses and spent some of the extra money on others were happier than those who spent their bonuses on themselves, the research found.

The gifts will be sorted, packaged and blessed at a special program from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 5, at Lake House Health & Learning Center, 932 Lake Ave. All are welcome to participate; please bring donation for the project or a donation of non-perishable food for the Racine Food Bank, if you are able. (The picture is a sample of just a few of the gifts that have been donated, with one bow-decorated "stocking.")

Co-creators of this project include members for the Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church, corporate people at CNH Campus Connection, clients and visitors to Lake House Health & Learning Center and friends, family and neighbors. I’ve been told by several people that this annual event – we are now in our eighth year – has become a meaningful part of their holiday.

When each donation bag and box arrives, it feels like a mini-Christmas. I open the bags and find treasures. I am sure that I get as much excitement from opening the donations as the recipients do.

If you’d like to contribute, or start your own project, these are the kinds of gifts we accept

Toiletries, hotel and regular sizes

Cards, stationery, stamps

Journals and calendars

Bookmarks

Socks, slippers and scarves

Journals

Small gifts

Plastic net bags

Yarn

The gifts are packaged in recycled plastic net bags -- the kind that are used for citrus fruits and onions -- that are used as "stockings" and distributed to the Southern Oaks Girls School, HALO, Women's Resource Center, Bethany Apartments, Focus On Community, SAFE Passage and SAFE Haven before Christmas.

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