Now that the holiday season is over, life feels like it is getting back to “normal.” The one thing I miss, though, from the holiday season, is the many posts from people being thankful. The holiday season seems to put people in a reflective mood. They remind us to acknowledge the things we are grateful for…everyday things that we can provide our families. If you run out of laundry detergent or toilet paper, you just put it on your grocery list. When you see your child has outgrown yet another pair of shoes, you go to the store and get new ones.
The truth is, some of us are so used to having the everyday necessities we might not always put them at the top of our list of things for which we are thankful. I’m pretty sure I won’t hear someone say they are thankful for toilet paper or shampoo or shoes. My friends and family have the means to take some of these things for granted. Simple Needs GA (SNGA), however, helps to provide some of these everyday items that we take for granted to children and families that really need help filling in the gaps.
In working with SNGA and helping to develop some of its programs, I have become more aware of all the blessings–small and large–I can be thankful for. For example, I am thankful for the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives–and for the many people who believe in our organization and support our mission, from members of our board, to a wide range of donors, volunteers, counselors, local agencies and others who are dedicated to helping people in need.
I am so grateful that we’ve been able to develop a program, My Birthday Matters, to help families celebrate birthdays. This is my pet project. When I was a kid, we lived on one very modest income. My family lived paycheck to paycheck with no extra to cover emergencies, never mind something like birthday presents. If I was lucky enough to have my birthday fall on a Friday or Saturday when a new paycheck was cashed, I would get a little present and maybe a cake. But if it fell on a Wednesday or Thursday, when funds were very low, it almost never even got mentioned. My parents were proud people and wanted to provide everything for their children but when they couldn’t, well, it was best to not mention it.
To a child, however, that is like saying they aren’t special enough. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to help children celebrate their special day. My Birthday Matters currently delivers birthday presents to elementary school children in the Marietta City School District, some additional elementary schools in Powder Springs, and some children living in local shelters like MUST. These children are classified as homeless and could be living in a hotel, shelter, a friend or relative’s house or even in a car.
We send every child some essentials which include a handmade blanket, markers, pens, pencils, crayons, socks and underwear along with some special gifts like an art set, football or Lego set. We recently got a thank you from a mom who has a special needs child.
To see the look on his face…because of his autism he loved the markers and crayons and the blank paper. He was up till midnight making pictures. And when I asked him to go to sleep he got the blanket and turtle he also received and slept with them both, and every night since. Thank you guys SO much. He was the happiest little boy I had seen in awhile.
Whenever we receive a little note like this or we see the child grinning ear-to-ear opening their presents, I feel really special. Every package we deliver makes me feel like I’m celebrating my lost birthdays. What better way to help your children understand how fortunate they are than by allowing them the opportunity to share their birthdays with others?
–Kasey Litt, founding board member, SNGA