LIFE MATTERS

A season of giving

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The Christmas/holiday season is when most people express their generosity and appreciation for secondary people they know, such as teachers, bosses, the mailman, the deliveryman and so forth. These individuals are gifted with mugs, boxes of candy and gift cards. It is a magical time of year for saying “Thank you for your service.”

This time of this year is not so magical. In fact, it is downright dreadful with COVID-19 overshadowing everything we do. However, it has also turned into a season of gift giving.

For me, it all started at the beginning of this epidemic. A woman in the parking lot of the Dollar Tree handed me a plastic bag filled with masks and sanitizer. I was a random stranger to her, albeit one who was not wearing a mask at the time. She was reaching out to help those in need by giving us a gift and I was so thankful!

In turn, I ordered 50 masks with breathing vents, a mask far superior to the small cloth masks. I carry them with me and hand them out to anyone who helps me, or those in the helping professions. I have given them to the pharmacy aides at Walgreens, the many nurses and doctors whom we have seen over the past several months, the clerk at Family Dollar, and many of the workers who help the homeless at the Providence Rescue Mission which I visit often to do bread deliveries.

Likewise, many other people generously acknowledge others with small gifts of appreciation. It seems every day on Facebook there is picture of a group that donated yummy items such as donuts, drinks and other goodies to the Warwick police station. Another woman I know walked into the station with a $50 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card and left it anonymously. She told me that it was her way of showing support and appreciation for the police officers that put their lives on the line every single day to protect us, with the huge majority of police officers facing unfair negative press. As in any profession, there may be one or two who behave badly, but that is true of any profession! “Back in the day,” I remember a teacher and a priest who regularly behaved badly in a way that would currently get them arrested for child molestation. But what did we know then? (I digress, I apologize…)

Many people have used $5 Dunkin gift cards to show their appreciation to total strangers in the helping professions; the Amazon delivery man bringing a staggering number of many packages in the heat of the day, the police officer sitting in his/her car, awaiting the opportunity to provide assistance, the teacher who has struggled to educate her students in a new video conferencing world, and the doctors and nurses who work all day in the heat, covered completely so as to avoid contact with virus. When I went for a COVID-19 test prior to the summer camp at which I will be working, the nurse/technician was actually in a HazMat suit, looking like she was on Mars, with full face gear, gloves and booties. It was 90 degrees out that day and their tent was outside in the sun!

Yes, there are many people who go above and beyond, both in their line of work and in providing thank you gifts to those who do. They may not be huge gifts, but are “feel good” tokens of sincere appreciation. This summer has become a season of giving. Won’t you join in?

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