Some Write It Hot

November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving – A Time for Unforgettable Giving by KevaD

Filed under: Who we are — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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Today most of you will gather with family, ravage some poor defenseless turkey and watch obnoxious brother-in-laws, hands stuck in their waistbands, doze in your favorite chair.

I say “you” because my wife Virginia and I won’t be so engaged.

For more than a decade now we have spent each Thanksgiving and Christmas morning at the local Salvation Army along with dozens of other folks preparing meals for those without.

It’s the “without” part that caused me to write this.

We tend to think of the Salvation Army and other such agencies and churches as buffet lines on these two holidays. But so much more takes place behind the scenes with and for people you won’t ever meet.

Our purpose, our job, is to box meals to be delivered to shut-ins. The majority of those people are the forgotten. When the volunteers arrive to help deliver the meals, I make the route assignments, count the meals going into the boxes, ensure the right boxes go to the right drivers, and when the last order is filled, Virginia and I head out to a high rise where we distribute, on average, sixty dinners.

We, and the others like us across the country, do this for many reasons.

But the most compelling reason is the people we meet. They and their stories bring us back every year.

One such story is a man who never signed up for the meals and rarely spoke.

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas in the dining room where we set up, this quiet man would appear dressed in slacks, sport jacket, clean shirt and tie. His shoes, always freshly polished.

He would stand at the windows looking out to the parking lot until he tired and sat down.

The second year, my curiosity peaked, I asked a couple of residents about him.

Each holiday his family would tell him they were coming to get him and bring him to wherever the family was gathering that particular day. Each holiday no one ever arrived to take him there.

I offered him a slice of homemade pumpkin pie. He declined, saying he wanted to arrive at his family hungry so he could enjoy the full meal with them.

On Christmas I insisted. He sat and wolfed it down.

The next year we brought a meal for him. He refused, but readily accepted the slice of pie.

And on it went until last Christmas.

We arrived, set up, and distributed the meals. The residents gathered at the tables, ensuring each had sufficient silverware and a drink. Many said prayers together.

The man wasn’t at the window, nor did he appear before we packed up to leave.

I had to ask.

I asked some of his neighbors if his dream had finally come true.

“Yes,” came the response. “He passed away.”

Celebrate your holiday with loved ones. But if you have time, consider giving an hour or two to someone standing at the window.

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