Yesterday several hardworking , Hispanic women gathered in the office of
Susan Vaughn who directs our annual Christmas Store project. Each
woman has been working since early October as a member of our Community
Service Corps. We pay Corps member $10. an hour in Christmas Store
buying power (i.e. Christmas Bucks) for the work they perform in
schools, nursing homes, churches, businesses and other service venues in
As these eager moms calculated their earnings, they shared a special
story of holiday need.
There is a young boy in our neighborhood whose mother had to return to
Mexico. She left him here with friends, they explained. Because of
the familys situation, he will have no Christmas really, they
continued. He really wants a bike. Do you think you could give him a
bike from the Christmas Store?
Thinking for a moment, Susan chose her words carefully.
No. We cannot give him a bike. But, if you feel he should have this
special gift, each of you could pool some of your earnings and buy the
bike for him, Susan explained, as one of the women translated for the
As the idea became clear, the women began to nod eagerly. Si, si, si!
they almost shouted. We can do this! We want to do this!
It was a magic moment in the heart of the city. Freed from the
constraints and the powerlessness of charity, these special women
stepped up to the challenge facing one little boy. They took it on and
our community grew stronger. They eagerly accepted part of the
responsibility for the childs life and future. Their work mattered
when they performed it. Their work mattered now to a child caught in a
situation beyond his control.
Poor women? Well, yes. They manage their households on an annual
income at or below the official national poverty line. Powerless women?
Women without options? No! Each woman, when placed in a position of
opportunity, responded with creativity, effectiveness and dependability
to work hard for their families, themselves and their community.
With the Christmas Store open, these women will make a very
special purchase and joy will fill the moment. And, something tells me
each will enjoy a very Merry Christmas.