“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” This sentiment is shared by billions of people of all nationalities and creeds throughout the world. At its very core, it speaks about the power of giving and sharing, the importance of community and faith and the idea that it is more blessed to give than to receive. It is a time when many celebrate God’s special gift to the world in the image of a child lying in a manger, and with grateful hearts, find various ways to “pay it forward.”
It is also a time when many organizations, businesses and families are beginning to wrap up year-end matters before the New Year begins. As necessary as these activities are, Hesed House is also preparing for a beginning – the beginning of what is inevitably the most difficult time of year for our guests. With the cold weather descending upon us earlier than normal this year, we have already experienced several days when we stayed open as a 24-hour warming center to provide our guests a safe haven from the bitter cold.
It was on one of these days that I noticed some new faces in our overflowing dining room. This, in itself, is not unusual, as we average a new person seeking our assistance every 8.5 hours. What caught my eye were the six new kids who were eating lunch with us. As I approached to introduce myself, I came face to face with a lovely family headed by a mother who was expecting another child and a father who had become unemployed. As Mom, Dad and I spoke, they shared the sad, yet all too familiar, story of a family that was doing fine one day, but the next day, because of the bread-winner’s job loss and all savings exhausted, found themselves in unfamiliar territory. They told me how they held onto their place until the last minute because they were concerned about the health of their unborn child. I assured them that we would do our best to make sure their stay with us would be as short, comfortable and hopeful as possible.
I can easily and confidently make this type of commitment to our guests because I know we have you – and other friends like you – to help make this quick recovery possible. Here at Hesed House, we are blessed to witness miracles daily due to your incredibly generous support for our less fortunate neighbors who have fallen on hard times. Your kindness and financial assistance can make a real difference this Holiday Season and allow us to send an encouraging message to our guests throughout the entire year: “you are worthy, and we care.” I can assure you that this sentiment is held in the heart of every person working here, and like Jingle Bells, rings throughout the halls of Hesed as a faithful reminder that it truly is “the most wonderful time of the year!”
On behalf of the entire Hesed Community, we thank you for your support. Have a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year.