As I stood in line at the Salvation Army “Toy Drive” for the needy, I contemplated what my girls (six and eleven years old) were going to get and so what I probably would not have to buy. I put down that they “needed” jackets, socks, and panties with their respective sizes attached, but I also put a few toys on the list (one Littlest Pet Shop, Hannah Montana), as the form asked us to.
As I stood and waited in the line, I saw people walk up and get brand new bikes, Barbie Dolls, Littlest Pet Shop sets, and I got more and more excited. The lady in charge would call out the names of a few people as they came in behind us and co-workers would rush to the back to get their bags, give them to the person, along with a couple of envelopes she pulled out of a box and they would leave. I thought it was a little strange, but hey, I thought they must be regulars. The rest of us were just people who needed a little extra help during the holiday time. I was so grateful for this opportunity.
My husband is one of those unfortunate auto workers whose plant shut down. October 31 was his last day at work. For twenty-five years straight, he always had a job. It was frightening to contemplate him not working. We didn’t know what we were going to do.
So I applied for little help during the winter season. Yes! It was my turn. I walked up to the front of the line, signed my name, received a certificate for a turkey and “fixings” from a local store, and waited as she looked through the gift certificate box. “Oh, I don’t get one?” I asked. “Nope” she said and called out our number, “331!” A young man came up with a white plastic trash bag. “331, here you go.” “Thank you, thank you so much!” I said. As I walked out to the car, I couldn’t wait to see what the girls had. I looked through the bag and I was shocked. There were three T-shirts size small adult. Toys opened and written on like they came from the thrift store. Three coloring books, and one was already colored in!
Do organizations that profess to help the poor really do things like this? Just because people are poor are they expected to take just “take what you get and not throw a fit,” as my girls would say and not say anything? Should we be grateful for someone else’s trash?