A Valuable Lesson I Learned From The Holidays

A Valuable Lesson I Learned From The Holidays
By Garen Jemian


Several years ago I had started an annual fundraiser called The X-Team. Our purpose was to raise money, food and clothing for those less fortunate. We focused our goodwill on the homeless, the battered women's shelters and animal shelters in and around the Montreal area. Our team was microscopic and did what we could. We gathered up all the donations from our generous friends and family, headed to the grocery stores and loaded up our cars with enough food to feed a small army. We also prepared 100 lunch bags for the homeless who were not aloud in shelters due to substance abuse issues and we hit the streets on our quest for spreading kindness.

Our last delivery of edibles was the local food shelter. As I pulled the car up to the rear entrance to help them unload, I noticed something that blew me away. It was a mountain of food beyond comprehension. There were so many donations that the volunteers didn't know where to store them anymore. It felt great to see that!

When I met with the head of the shelter, I extended my joy of seeing such an abundance of food and asked how her work was coming along.

She said to me "Son, it's easy during the Holidays. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves so everyone donates their time, money and food. We have to refuse hundreds of volunteers because we simple don't need any more help. The real issue is come January through November, we're dry and too few care to donate anything. If you want to be a real hero, come help us during the year."

We ended our conversation with a big hug as I felt all her pain through my bones. She sent me off with a kind smile and sorrowful eyes. I'll never forget that moment. Bittersweet had a new meaning that day.

She reminded me that human suffering has no season. Their pain and hunger does not take an 11-month break until the time comes that it's convenient for people to help them. Fact is, people are suffering every single day and that truth has stuck with me ever since.

And so, my privileged brothers and sisters, this Holiday season I wish upon you the gift of compassion and generosity and may it radiate through you every day of the year. When broken hands beg you for dignity, I wish upon you the kindness and awareness to fulfill those requests. May the Holiday season be a celebration of the work we've done all year to help those with broken wings in the hopes that one day, we can all fly together as one.