I am writing with thankful hearts from all of us who are a part of The Equality Project, but I’m sharing this “Day of Joy” from my own personal experience.
For several weeks we, as the Board of The Equality Project, had been praying for $250 to come in by the 18th of December so that we could pay our monthly utility bills. This was the morning Shelley and I were going into the bank to pay our bills, and I asked Shelley if we had enough money. With a smile on her face and total confident faith, she said “We have $50 to spare.” Already my heart started filling with joy, because once again we could pay our bills.
As we walked into the Credit Union there was, at that moment, the most beautiful tree I had ever seen. You see, the tree said “Toques and Scarves for The Equality Project.”
Until this point the board had decided that the adult members would not be receiving an “Essentials Gift Bag” this year since we had not received enough donations in our hamper boxes around town.
Tears welled up in me for the joy I was feeling. (All our members who needed a bag who came for Christmas dinner ended up receiving a bag.)
More gifts were picked up next door at Community Futures. Our trunk was almost full of new and used good gifts and clothing to give away. The big smiles I saw on the ladies filled my heart even more as we walked out of their office.
As we sat down for lunch I asked Shelley if a gentleman had stopped by to drop off some GICs in gas cards for the kind people who offer to give our members a ride for appointments, groceries, or a visit to our Clubhouse for lunch. She said yes, a man had brought by a bunch of gas cards. What do you do with a heart of joy that’s going to explode?
Shelley continued our conversation by telling me that someone had come by to see if there’d be anyone who could afford to rent his home in Cache Creek as a long-term renter. After considering many people who needed an adequate place to live, she thought of two who could possibly afford this home if they shared the rent. It’s an amazing place for two of our members, who have already moved in.
Now if you even understand a bit of our desire to see some low-income housing come into this area and provide a much-needed facility for many people around here, you will also understand how thrilled we are that something happened for two of our friends. I think by now the joy was oozing out of my mouth, because my mouth fell open when Shelley shared that news.
To put the cream on top of the cake, Vicky picked me up from downtown to say “You can come with me while I deliver the Christmas Gift Hamper to the lady and her young son who were chosen to win this year’s gift from the HUB.”
Standing outside waiting for us when we arrived was a lady I recognized, also a member of The Equality Project. She was thrilled and had a smile from ear to ear, which by this time almost made me burst into tears. Driving away I said to Vicky, “I’ve just had Christmas. I wouldn’t need one more thing because I have just received as much joy as I could handle in one day.”
Thank you for giving me a gift of joy, and our many members so much again this year. We would like to thank all those people who quietly come in week after week with donations of food, essentials, and firewood, who plough our snow, who are understanding neighbours, and who bring other items we need and monetary gifts that help us keep our doors open. We could not do without each and every one of you.
As seen through the eyes of Joan Henderson,
You know, it is a good idea to see a bit of the world beyond Canada before you shuffle off this mortal coil. See how the rest of the world lives, in other words.
For example, we take for granted that the rest of the western world (i.e. Europe) lives like we do, with bleached white toilet tissue, miles of aisles of plastic packaged goods on store shelves, washrooms for men and women in restaurants and department stores, everything on God’s green earth wrapped in plastic of one kind or another.
It’s a bit of a cultural shock, then, when you find across the oceans that toilet paper is not bleached. It is brown, and more coarse than ours.
Toilets are not available everywhere. In fact, even in the smallest towns you have to pay to use the single toilet in the shopping area that might be available.
Another thing that you will notice is the lighting, in department and other stores and in smaller shops. The light of day we enjoy in ours, with overhead light everywhere so that merchandise is optimally visible, is not what you will find in England or France, where power resources are much more limited than ours.
In Paris you may have to walk up stairs and down halls to use a toilet. A single toilet. Even bed and breakfasts in England and France, and quite possibly other parts of Europe, have one bathroom to serve the guests, usually at the end of the hall. Yes, there are hotels in London and Paris with ensuite bathrooms, but you pay mightily for them.
The packaging industry is clearly out of control. Everything is being packaged. We have packaging within packages. Comedies on TV show people trying to break into the plastic cartons and packaging. It would be laughable, but the garbage, litter, waste, and efforts to control it in municipalities have become costly, and not only to the consumer. The tipping of mountains of waste is a sight to behold, as council members in Ashcroft saw for themselves on a visit to the landfill a few years ago. Most of the waste was packaging.
Why? you may ask. It is partly because we have the land, the room. In Europe, land is precious. Every tree cut down in Germany, for example, every cutting of forest, is regulated, and the regulations are enforced. The other reason is our ignorance.
Look at the manner in which European cities and towns rebuilt after the disastrous wars that destroyed them. You see them today as they were before the war. Civic pride created that metamorphosis. The result is a thriving tourist industry that is the mainstay of the economy of some countries.