Chairman’s Corner: Happy Holiday Helpings!
Welcome to “Chairman’s Corner”, where our Board Chair, Paul Taskier, will write about a variety of topics that impact Bread for the City and indeed the community and nation at large. We invite you to Read, Enjoy and Share!
Many things about Bread for the City have touched my heart and given me many rewards, but our annual Holiday Helpings drive is the most meaningful part of my year, and it is what originally drew me deeply into the organization.
A few years ago, during a Holiday Helpings fundraising effort at my office, a young staff member came to me with a $29 donation. I knew that $29 was a lot of money for him so I asked him why he was donating. His answer touched me deeply. He said that as a child, the only time he ever had Thanksgiving is when his mother got a turkey from Bread for the City. So now that he was earning, he wanted to give back and help another family have a Thanksgiving. That is the power of community, of caring, of seeing yourself in the shoes of another and sacrificing a bit so that others do not go without.
Thanksgiving is special. For so many of us it is the one time each year that our families come together solely in celebration of family and the simple gift of life. It isn’t about religion, or football, or even the Pilgrims. It’s about being grateful for what we have, for the gift of our parents, our spouses, our children, and others dear to us. We need only look at the world around us to see how blessed we have been, even though we know there is much work yet undone.
It is a special day in my family–my mother’s favorite holiday–celebrating that she was able to escape the horrors of World War II in Europe and establish a family here, surrounding herself with dear friends, surviving family, and the children who anchored her. Nowadays, we celebrate with my wife’s brothers and their families, with a meal that is over the top in quantity even for the twenty-plus family members who surround the table. In fact, it’s much too much when I think about the many people who have no Thanksgiving meal at all.
That is why Bread for the City started Holiday Helpings back in 1996. The idea was that we could help our clients have the dignity of a full holiday meal in their own homes. It resonated with me. I made it my own cause, and did a drive to raise money. That effort brought me deeply into Bread for the City even though I had done volunteer work well before that. And Holiday Helpings still remains my favorite program at Bread, just because it touches that part of us that gives thanks and recognizes that we are not alone in this world.
The goal for Holiday Helpings in 1996 was to raise enough money to distribute about 800 turkeys to our clients and their families. Twenty years later our goal is to distribute 10,000 turkeys. But it is no easy task. Donations to Holiday Helpings are what pay for the food we distribute. We can’t do it without our donors and their generosity. A turkey dinner is now $29 for a family of four, because we have become super-efficient in sourcing our foods. Please consider a generous gift of $29 or more to Holiday Helpings.
Let’s make Thanksgiving a holiday where we can all truly give thanks. If it’s one meal, 10 or 100, every gift is gratefully received and put to its best use.
May each of you have a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving.