by school counselors and social workers.
these families meet with volunteer shoppers
to help with the process.
all of the money raised
goes directly to purchasing clothing,
with no administrative costs
subtracted from the donations.
i am one of the volunteers who take the families shopping
and never fail to be amazed by the people i meet.
on my shopping trip this year
i met a single mother whose husband had died
raising sons, 12 and 16
supporting them by working at mcdonald’s,
her oldest son works at taco bell
she’s had a rough time of things lately
extra money has been harder to come by
both sons are in school, play football, and do chores at home.
when i asked how she was able to do it all
she told me, “life goes up and down. you just do what you have to do.”
after we shopped for her sons’ winter clothing
we made our way to the register.
just ahead of us in line
another family was checking out
who were also program recipients.
after being rung up, it was discovered
that they had gone just a bit over their allotted budget
and were going to have to put something back.
the mother i had shopped with
reached into her purse
and gave them the $1.89 they needed.
what an incredibly generous act of compassion
from someone who had so little herself
as she helped someone else to warm their children
when we checked out and went to leave
she hugged me and said,
“thank you so much, i always pay it forward.”