Here comes the holiday season, which at BGC will be filled with all of the things that kids and families need, plus a few special surprises! Breakfasts with Santa (many, many Santa’s…), community dinners, parties in the Clubs, gifts and stockings, and even an appearance in the Rogers Santa Claus parade are all on the calendar. And, just like at your house, there’s lots of planning underway to make it all fun and festive.
Meanwhile, a bit like the North Pole, there is a flurry of hidden activity, not by elves but by our staff and volunteers who are preparing for the extra gifts and supports for our kids and families who are really struggling: food, shelter, essentials of life so that celebrations can actually come to their homes too. I often say that we’re not “making this work up as we go along”. Over the holidays, what that means is that we provide these extraordinary supports, like hampers, extremely carefully. You might assume that means we go to great lengths to confirm that there is really a need (means testing, confirmation of income, declaration of needs). What we know, however, is that it is extremely hard to ask for help, to admit that you can’t provide for your family, and/or that you’ve hit rock bottom. And so, rather than perpetuating the shame and humiliation of having to “prove” they need help, we already know which of our kids and families have extraordinary needs, and we do everything we can to help. When we do, that help is delivered by the BGC staff person that they know and trust the most so they know they won’t be judged. Given quietly and discreetly, the unnamed gift is dignity.
Here at BGC, the holidays are filled with deep emotion, caused by the collision of intense needs with incredible acts of generosity. The result is joy, hope and gratitude. We know that many people are looking for ways to give this season. We want you to know that by choosing to give to BGC, your gift will directly support kids and families with programs and services for the coming year. Giving to BGC tells our kids and families that people – strangers – across the community believe in them. That gift of dignity lasts a lifetime.
Thank you for including BGC in your thoughts of giving this holiday season!