The Gift of Giving
Natalie and Ashlyn are two sisters who have been volunteering for Palmetto Place since they were little. We asked them to share the what giving means to them and what they wrote is simply beautiful.
Each year during Christmas time, my mom, sister, and I contribute to Palmetto Place through our charity organization, Kids ACT (Accepting Challenges Today). Originally, my aunt created Kids ACT in 1993. Now, other families are involved and we ask people to donate presents to Palmetto Place. We gather with the people willing to “Stuff the Stockings” with us, which is usually on the day when my mom, sister, and I take the presents to Palmetto Place.
I love getting the opportunity to drop off the gifts because there is a more intimate feel by actually getting the privilege of carrying the presents into Palmetto Place. I get a sense of how the kids live and how different their lives are compared to mine. I know they have been through some rough times. I cannot even imagine what they have gone through, and I commend them for staying strong. In a way I kind of feel like a parent to the kids because I want the absolute best for them.
Since I have been bequeathed with more belongings than necessary, it makes me want to donate and give more to those who hardly have the simple things. It is very important to not get so caught up in yourself at Christmas that you do not consider the ones in need. Christmas is a time of giving – not receiving. When you are more than blessed, you should distribute your time, energy, and self to those who need it most. The feeling of giving brings a warm smile to my heart because I am affected by the admiration and sensation of doing a good deed that Palmetto Place bestows.
My favorite part of this entire process is knowing that I have helped to make all of those kids’ Christmas more special. I feel like a Santa Claus to them because we deliver these ginormous bags filled with goodies, toiletries, games, toys, and other various presents. Every year the event seems to keep growing. Kids ACT, donations, and faith during the holidays remind me that the kids will have a special Christmas that they will love and remember.
In 1993, my Aunt started a charity known as Kids ACT (Kids Accepting Challenges Today). Around Christmas time, my aunt, mom, and grandma would gather kids around their neighborhood or school to donate items such as pencils, small snacks, books, crayons, toys, clothes, baby items, toiletries, and a good many other things. They would then put everything in bags based on gender and age. After that, they would take everything to Palmetto Place and all the kids would get presents on Christmas.
At the age of three, I began to help with Kids ACT. My mother would help my sister and me to gather the bags and assemble everyone in order to fill them. It has always been overwhelming to see all the bags overflowing in our car as we drive to Palmetto Place. Whenever we walk up to the door getting ready to deliver the bags, a feeling of elation rushes over me. As I’ve grown older, I’ve been able to assist and participate even more.
I have been doing Kids ACT for a whole decade now, and not a year goes by when I haven’t wanted to donate and help. It brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart knowing I have contributed. I am very fortunate to have more than I need, and giving back to those in the community who have less is heartwarming. Now that I am older, I understand more of why we do Kids ACT and why people do charities in the first place. We do it not only because they don’t have all the toys and games that we have, but we also do it because of the good in our hearts. A person can tell when someone needs help to get back on their feet, and it is the people who really care and want to lend a hand who do. We can say that we want to help, but the people who actually start something or accomplish what they said they were going to achieve are the ones who make a difference. They are the people who impact our lives for the better.
Kids ACT is a great way to help and get involved. I have enjoyed being part of it and will continue to help and donate until I no longer can. It is the little things in life that make us want to help. Simply putting a smile on someone’s face is a grand way to start.