Giving trees are common during the holiday season. They stand tall, small, skinny, sideways, fat and full of tags from children, adults and families in need. Each year we choose many tags of different trees in our community. It is one small way to give back and help those in need. If I was ever in need and hung a tag, I would hope someone would help me.
Have you ever noticed how the first tags to disappear are the little girls and babies? Baby toys are fun to buy for and most assume little girls will all want dolls. The tags left sadly hanging often belong to pre-teen and teen boys. Which makes me sad. They want gifts too.
This year, Stonyfield Farms encouraged their Yo-Getter bloggers to pay it forward. They provided us with a $50 gift card and asked us to share the spirit of the holiday. I immediately knew that we would use the card for gifts that would go towards those lonely hanging tags that belonged to teen boys. A young boy in our church congregation created a giving tree just for teen boys at a local domestic abuse shelter. It was perfect and a great way to teach my children about how others are less fortunate.
Called to Action
Then at church, our pastor shared that a family in our congregation had become foster parents to three young children. Three children ages 8, 7 and 9 months who arrived with just clothing on their back in the middle of the night.
My heart hurt. My eyes welled up with tears. I knew deep down this was a calling from God to do something. To help three sweet children who were probably terrified, traumatized and right before Christmas. What had their little eyes seen? What had their ears heard?
In my purse was the Stonyfield gift card. I knew immediately I had to give this to Pastor Sherry. I had to tell her to use to buy them clothing, diapers and toys. I also knew that $50 would only go so far. I went home, went through boxes of clothing, shoes, and toys, and called upon my sister and friends to help.
In the end, the giving tree tags for the teens with their wishes were fulfilled, thanks to our congregation. The three foster children had huge bags full of toys, clean clothing, shoes, winter coats and warm pajamas. The baby had diapers and the children received several new books, all of which the Stonyfield Farms gift card to pay it forward helped provide.
Facts about Foster Care:
- 415,000 children on any given day are in the United States Foster Care system
- The average age of a child in foster care is 9 years of age
- The majority of children in foster care are male
- Each year over 20,000 children age out of the foster care system
- 100,000 children each year in the foster care system are waiting to be adopted
- To become a foster parent and helps those children in need visit The National Voice of Foster Parents.
What is Your Calling?
There are so many travesties in our world. So many people suffering that do not get to experience the wonder of the season and have that sparkle in their eyes and feel joy in their hearts. Pray for them and do what you can in your own backyard to help those in need. Every little bit helps, even the extra change from your pocket. Think of those in foster care and how you can help or those tags on the local Christmas tree that hang, waiting.
How have you paid it forward this holiday season? What causes are you called to serve and help? Please feel free to post links in the comment section below of causes that are near and dear to your heart, and how others reading this can help. You never know whom you will inspire.
Inspiring Yo-Getter Bloggers
- Pay it Forward: Urban Ambassadors
- 10 Ways to Help Children During the Holiday Season
- Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
- Paying it Forward with Stonyfield Farms
- Teaching Kids to Give Back This Holiday Season
- Helping Where Needed
- Paying it Forward – Run and Smile
- Giving Back this Holiday Season in More Ways Than One
Why not? Great tips for free!