The days before Christmas can be hectic. We go from shop to shop, trying to find the perfect gift for a loved one. We bake cookies for our office parties. We meet with friends for one holiday cocktail before Christmas arrives.
But this week, there will be some who struggle to even survive. They will sleep in the woods. Or keep warm sleeping over a heat grate on a city block. Or spend Christmas in their car.
Their dreams this Christmas are much different than ours. They will only ask for food and shelter. So for a moment, we ask that you think of them.
If you have the heart, we ask you take a moment to acknowledge them. Say hello. Wish them a Merry Christmas.
And if you have the means, we ask that you take a moment to help them. Buy them a meal. Or give them some money. Or serve them a meal at a homeless shelter.
Sadly, there are far too many people who are homeless or people who are at risk of becoming homeless in our country. They live paycheck to paycheck. They make the difficult decision to pay their mortgage while foregoing their utility bill.
These are the people we ask you to think of this week. These are the people we ask you to acknowledge. And these are the people we ask you to help.
That is the true meaning of Christmas. The day is not about what we receive, but what we give.
If you want to help the needy this holiday season, we encourage you to seek out a local food pantry or homeless shelter and ask how you can help. In the communities where we operate - on Cape Cod, in Boston and Newport - these are a few of the worthy organizations that help those most in need. Learn more about them and how you can help, not just this month, but year-round:
- Pine Street Inn (Boston) – Founded in 1969, this nonprofit serves more than 1,600 homeless individuals on a daily basis, providing them the basic (food and shelter) to more advanced services that allow them to regain their independence.
- The Family Pantry of Cape Cod (Harwich) – Cape Cod is often thought of a vacationer’s paradise, but beyond the picture-perfect postcard image of the region is the fact that there are people here who struggle to make ends meet. The pantry provides them with food and clothing at a time when they need it most.
- Housing Assistance Corporation (Hyannis) – This nonprofit runs four homeless shelters on Cape Cod, including its only emergency shelter for individuals (NOAH Shelter). Volunteers serve meals nightly at NOAH, providing a direct connection to the most needy in the region. During the holiday season, the nonprofit collects donations of toys it gives to children living in shelter or who have recently moved out of shelter.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center (Newport) – On the surface, Newport is not unlike Cape Cod. But there are people in need in this section of the state. And the community center does its part, providing food to income-eligible residents. And it offers holiday support to local families, supplying food baskets to 220 families during Thanksgiving and Christmas and collects and distributes toys to more than 300 children in Newport County.