Thieves Can't Steal Spirit of Giving This Christmas
5 months ago
A burglary casts a writer outside his comfort zone to help needy kids for the holiday.
Thieves almost ruined Christmas this year for some 200 children and their families in South Los Angeles.
“You won’t believe that someone broke into my garage and stole big bags of toys,” exclaimed my incredulous cousin Makeda Murray, founder of An Open Door, a nonprofit that has been organizing Jingle Bash, a toy distribution drive for kids and families in need, for the past 10 years.
I couldn’t believe it either. We’d always put the toys in Makeda's home garage, never thinking that someone would case the place or have no qualms about stealing from the 200 children and their families we were expected to serve.
But with only 48 hours until the event that's held a few days before Christmas, there was no time to be upset and no chance we’d cancel. There was a 3-year-old out there who needed to be able to pick out a baby doll from a sea of toys on display in our annual "toy store." We needed those toys replaced, by any means necessary.
Jingle Bash is an effort that, through the kindness of countless organizations and my cousin's impeccable leadership abilities, rewards an ever-expanding family of disadvantaged youth who strive to break a generations-old cycle of poverty. So, as this toy crisis loomed, I found myself being called upon to use the ability I'd been given as a journalist to help give these youth a voice this year.
As one of the many multi-tasking volunteers of An Open Door, I had never needed to play the role of spokesperson before. Yikes!
I hate seeing myself on television.
I mean I really dislike it. Contrary to what many would think typical of a journalist in an age when appearing in front of cameras is a web-traffic-driving, brand-building must, I can’t stand watching myself speak. But I had to set aside such discomfort. None of that matters when there are children in danger of being without a toy, without an outward expression of love, on Christmas.
The burglary presented an opportunity for us to come through for the kids like we'd never come through before.