I decided it's time to put aside for awhile, the usual kinds of stories on this blog, (which some might consider "gloom & doomish,") so that my readers (and I) can be reminded, there's another world out there, where hope for a better future burns as brightly as ever.
And where people like Coralee never give up that hope.
Coralee, your mom and I are proud of you!
Below is Coralee's report to friends and family on how things went this year (2011).
"Cael, myself, Terry and Heather headed out last evening to accomplishing the final stage in our 100 Good Deeds mission. We began the night dropping off gifts and blankets at two separate residences of single parents.
"A miscommunication and misunderstanding (and slight language barrier) changed our first mission as the father was working towards seeking visitation rights to see his son...and his wish for Christmas was for us to try to send his son a gift through his lawyer. He would not accept the small gift we had for him but I did convince him to accept the non-perishable hamper. He was very humble and told me he was working very hard and doing everything possible to get his son back. He overheard Cael tell me he was thirsty and, without hesitation, offered Cael a juice he had in his fridge. Here was a man who was sleeping on the floor (I could see the blankets and pillows made up in the bedroom) and had only one chair in his living room but was offering up his last juice.
"Our second stop was a single mom with two young girls (3 & 5 years old). We entered the house to find two very excited and sweet little girls. They were over the moon to see the gifts we had for them and carefully placed them under their bare Christmas tree. When we showed them the blankets that we made for each of them the 5 year old squealed with delight "we love them." It was a very special moment. Their enthusiasm and appreciation was a gift all in itself. We made up two gift bags for "mom" from the girls and they were gleaming when I told them that they were for them to give to Mom at Christmas. The mother was very appreciative and I do believe started to tear up when Heather told her that we were happy that we could help her out during the Holidays..
"The rest of the evening we drove the streets delivering our random acts of kindness. We targeted the laundromat again and surprising a man who was waiting for his laundry to be washed. We surprised another on Salter waiting for a walk sign and another whom was picking up waste and garbage around his home on Higgins. A young man and his daughter (approximately 3 years old) heading into a Native Youth Centre on Dufferin St were very grateful and taken back by our random generosity. He made his little girl acknowledge us with a "thank you" and as I was heading back towards the van I heard him yell out "and Merry Christmas to you." Our last random act was to a couple that we followed down the street after they exited a 7-11. Both the woman and man's face lit up when we handed them over their new blanket.
"A half dozen of our blankets were also delivered by Tamara and her family to the Children's Hospital yesterday afternoon. They will be handed out to children who will experience the hospital environment either through surgery or an over night stay. My family, as well as Tamara’s family, have both spent many hours at the Children’s Hospital and may you find comfort in knowing that you are helping a child cope during a very terrifying situation, and providing their parents with a moment of peace as the fear in their child's face escapes. I know how special this moment is as Dave and I were “those parents” when Chase was given a small blanket before his surgery in Edmonton this past spring.
"Thank you again for your efforts to make 100 Good Deeds a reality. Thanks to all of you for taking time when life couldn't be more hectic and setting it aside for a family or individual you have never met. This morning over breakfast Cael says “Mom, remember how happy those girls were when we gave them presents to put under their tree.” It seems that I was not the only one to walk away with a warm heart and a valuable lesson this year.
"Last night I once again discovered how great it feels to not only give to others, but to have so many good people in our life. We are blessed to know each and every one of you and we thank you for your friendship.
"From our family to yours Merry Christmas and a SAFE holiday season.
PLT: Please also read: "Unwrap a Gift Economy"