|Doing Good Together Newsletter|
Jenny Friedman, Executive Director
Make a Difference...
Talk About It...
Learn About It...
Photo: The Can-Do Thanksgiving by Marion Hess Pomeranc, illustrated by Nancy Cote
"And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!"
from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
One Twin Cities-area church hosts a holiday giving tradition that brings joy to those without much to cheer about. Member families like Pam and Gary Gaides and their two daughters, Amy (17) and Erin (15), help make it work. Every year, the Gaideses look forward to the satisfaction and meaning they receive in return.
Tubman Family Alliance & Chrysalis works with the Gaideses' church, Woodbury United Methodist Church (WUMC), to brighten the holidays for families who are relying on Tubman's resources to deal with domestic violence and mental and chemical health issues. First, the nonprofit provides the public with shopping lists and people throughout the Twin Cities donate items from the lists. The donated items for families from the east metro are brought to Woodbury United Methodist Church, and dozens of church members sort and categorize them according to age and gift type. Then, church volunteers go "shopping" to select and put together the items requested by each family. Finally, other volunteers wrap and place them in each family's gift basket. The whole process takes about three weeks. The Gaides family lends a hand at every stage - helping to coordinate the holiday shopping event at WUMC, categorizing the donations, shopping and wrapping, and volunteering at the holiday party. The family will use its own money to purchase items that families have requested but that haven't been donated.
The program culminates with a holiday party for Tubman families. Volunteers prepare and serve a meal, help entertain the children with craft activities, and present each family with its tailor-made gift basket. Teenagers Amy and Erin especially enjoy interacting with the young children at the event. Pam Gaides says her daughters eagerly anticipate the annual project, and seem to revel in their ability to bring holiday cheer to the families. Her hope is that serving others, which they have experienced firsthand with Tubman for the last four years, is something they take with them and weave into their adult lives, too.
Photo: Amy & Erin Gaides
One way Doing Good Together educates people about the value of family service is by building relationships with schools, faith groups, social service agencies, museums, businesses, civic groups and others. If your group or organization is interested in encouraging its member families to serve others, please contact us. We'd love to talk with you about the possibilities!