The Best Part of Christmas 2007

 In Blog

I have a lot to be excited about this Christmas.

I have a great wife, some awesome new step kids that came with that great wife, a beautiful home in a warm climate, a wonderful extended family, a rewarding career, financial security, friends galore, an exciting life and, most of all, the citizenship in a country that allows and encourages me to have the best life possible.

It’s because of things like this that I truly want to help others. Call me crazy, but when I have plenty, I want to share that plenty with others.

A couple of years ago, I was invited by my buddy, Dave Becker, to do a pro bono speech for some special kids. Dave is a social worker at a home for abandoned and abused kids in STL called Mary Grove. Folks, I did the informal program for these kids and left a changed man.

Why? Because kids who live these lives have nothing. I mean nothing. What’s worse is the nothing they have includes family, love and support.

Imagine if you will that tomorrow, you get a promotion in your job. Who’s the first person you call? Or that you won a vacation to Cancun? Who do you take? Or that you accomplished something like another degree-who do you celebrate with? For these kids, the answer is: no one.

Worse, what family these kids once had is tainted with drug abuse, sexual, physical and emotional abuse, poverty, neglect – you name it, they’ve seen it. That is, except things that are good.

Becker sent out a plea via E mail to his buds a few weeks ago. In essence, it said, “Guys, I know we all have families and money can be tight. The current economic market doesn’t make it any easier. But you know the kids I work with and they have no one to give them gifts. If you can scrape together a few bucks, I’ll make sure it goes to some kids who can really use it.”

How can anyone turn down a request like that? Having met these kids(and many others in similar situations), I couldn’t. I consulted my wife, got out the checkbook and sent Dave a check that day.

I don’t want recognition for this. I don’t do charity work for recognition. I do it because it’s just the right thing to do. And financially, I’m fortunate. That’s the easiest way for me to help. So, I did.

Here’s the reply I got from Dave:

Marcus, I have to say when I opened your check, I was amazed by the amount. Thank you. I thought of something that you could tell your family on Christmas Day that may let them know how lucky they are. Your gift allowed the following things: 4 Bath & Body kits for teenage girls (your wife will know what that is), 3 CD players, 7 DVDs, 2 Drawing kits for two autistic kids. I have learned how to stretch a dollar. Some of the other things that it could buy are, 28 meals for one child, Enough school supplies for an entire year, 6 months worth of clothing, Shelter for one day, 5 therapy sessions… there is a whole lot more but I think you get the point. Thanks again, and you are the man. My staff really appreciate it and they do know where it came from. Have fun with your new family at Christmas. Becker

Folks, this massive amount? $100.
That is just 20% the price of a new Nintendo game system. In reality, to those of us in America with a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs, it’s just a little more than pocket change.

So many non-for-profits get a bad rep for how they handle money. Not all, but there are many where a significant portion of one’s donation goes for administrative expenses. I knew when sending Dave a check, this would not be the case.

Again, I do charity because it’s the right thing to do. What will keep me doing charity is the message Dave sent back. Knowing where every dollar goes makes me want to do even more. So, next year, Dave’s young people will get a bigger check.

If you, too, want to help out some young people with rough lives, get in contact with me and I’ll put you in touch with Dave. Thanks, Becker, for giving me the opportunity to help out some others this Christmas season.

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