As our offices and “Santa’s workshop” close for the holidays, it is a time for me to reflect not just on the past few days but beyond. There are moments in time that define not just who we are but why we behave the way we do.
As United Way wraps up each Holiday Hand program, before we tally up the numbers and the results, I find myself looking back and remembering Christmas 1980. It was my son’s first Christmas. I had $5.00 that I put towards an artificial tree, some lights and a few ornaments. The rest of the tree’s ornaments were hand stitched from scraps of material. I received a Red Cross box filled with items to complete a Christmas meal. It included a cereal bowl and tiger mug from Esso (I was living in Canada at the time). The only other gift I had for my son was a teddy bear given to me for being a good customer of the diaper service company we were using (we couldn’t afford disposable ones). Sounds slim but we had love and support.
A year later I returned to the states and started anew in Hunterdon. I have had a lot of support along the way and I am grateful for the life, the love, the family, and the friends I have. So when I see Holiday Hands in action, the bright eyes of the children who stop in, I understand what that holiday cheer means to so many. I also know that none of it would be possible without the generous support from our community – our donors, all our volunteers who put in a yeoman’s effort in dedicating time that might otherwise be spent on other endeavors, and the staff that goes beyond expectations to support these efforts.
As we look to a New Year, some of us with uncertainties of what’s to come, I wish you peace, love and joy and an invitation to help us strive to bring our neighborhoods together and help us provide opportunities for a good life for all. Help us support those who lack supports in their life.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas or the best Holidays you observe at this time of year.
Bonnie Duncan, CEO
PS - Me and my first bike – because it’s another one of those life moments we remember!