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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

-Blog post by Reed Sandridge of Washington, D.C.

Merry Christmas everyone! It seemed rather appropriate to make a post today – on a day that many of us associate with the spirit of giving. So now that your family room looks like a tornado went through it and destroyed an entire city built of wrapping paper, take a moment to enjoy a little update some holiday kindness investing.

At the end of December 2010 I stopped my year-long journey of giving away $10 a day. Well, sorta. I’ve found myself on many occasions giving a ten-spot away this year, I just chose not to write up the stories every day like I did last year. But this last week I did a little extra kindness investing.

I went out to meet up with a former colleague of mine, Jess, for lunch. I laugh because she say’s that I am one of two “famous” people she knows – the other is her brother who is an elementary school principal who is also a local legend singer/song-writer in Rochester, MN. Anyway, on my way over to meet her I decided to go run a few errands and I bumped into Kenneth B. from Day 30.

Normally I find him pacing back and forth hawking the Street Sense paper but this day he sat deep in a folding chair barking his familiar cadence, “Street Sense! … Street Sense!” I was in a bit of a hurry and didn’t want to be late to my lunch meeting but I did want to stop and wish Kenneth a happy holiday and give him a few dollars. As I left, I placed a twenty in his hand – $10 from a Year of Giving supporter in Havertown, PA which I matched with a ten of my own.

I then hopped on the Metro and headed downtown. On the train I started thinking that maybe it would be fun to do a little extra giving and I decided that I would give $10 to each person I passed that day who was asking for money. How much money would that add up to? I mean there are days that I feel like I am surrounded by panhandlers in this town.

As I reached the top of the escalators at Metro Center I saw a man with a plastic cup extended toward those exiting the station. I reached into my wallet, found a ten-dollar bill and handed it to him. “Thank you very much!” he said quickly as he tucked it into his cup.

Photo: Reed

After lunch I headed over to Macy’s to look for a gift I still needed to get. I was sure that I would give $10 to the Salvation Army bell-ringer – but to my surprise there was no bell-ringer in sight. But I did pass plenty of other people and before the day had ended I had passed nine more. One of those was Tommy B. – a Street Sense vendor who ended up being my $10 recipient on Day 155. He was doing well and was planning to head down to South Carolina the next day to spend Christmas with his sister. Like Kenneth, I gave him $20. This time I paid forward a $10 donation I had received from Marcio from New Zealand matched with $10 of my own. He was thankful and gave me a warm hug when I said goodbye.

It was a bit nostalgic giving away ten-spots for the day. Somehow it felt right given the holiday season – but as I have said before, it’s not just the holidays that people need help. They need it even on sunny days in June. So as we approach a new year I hope you will take a moment to think about how you might be able to help others and make a plan, even if it is just in your head, about what you will do. Nobody else needs to know, but it will help you stick with it. Drop me a note if you need some help.

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Today I met a man named Dallas who was working at the Ramada Hotel.  Dallas has worked at the Ramada for 2 years and usually works the night shift.  He likes working nights because it’s more laid back.  His favorite part of the job is getting to know the guests that stay at the hotel even though some of them he may never see again.

Dallas grew up in Nebraska and moved to Florida in his 20’s.  He met his wife there and they lived in Florida for about 15 years before moving to Ohio to be closer to her family.  Dallas has lived in Ohio for 15 years and really enjoys it even though the weather is quite different.

He laughed about people who live in Florida not knowing what snow is.  When asked what he thought he was going to use the $10 toward at first he said he wasn’t really sure but quickly decided he was going to take himself out to breakfast when he got off work that morning.

-Melinda T. from Xenia, OH / Dec. 25, 2010

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It’s Christmas Eve. (Actually, its 1:30am on Christmas Day now, so Merry Christmas.)

I am in Mechanicsburg, PA. 

It is about 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

I am at my father’s house with my brother and his fiancée.  We spent the day talking, playing cards, watching Star Wars (it’s been on all day), doing last minute shopping, wrapping gifts, listening to Christmas music, and eating lots of food.  My dad was a real hero today too.  He insisted on getting the grill out tonight to cook the steaks he had bought.  Yes, outside.  He does make some of the best steaks I have ever had, but when the grill has ice sickles on it, that’s a sign that we should use the indoor oven.

Anyway, my brother and I decided to go out and see how the central Pennsylvanians would react to my project.  Frankly, it was not as easy as you would think to give away $10 here.  We went to a pharmacy and approached three people.  All of whom said no to participating in the Year of Giving.  One didn’t even want to talk to me.  Another took the web address and said he would check out the website.  The store manager declined saying that there were others more deserving of the money than he.

So we left and headed across the street to a video rental store.  Since they were open we thought we would try to find someone who was working on Christmas Eve and give them the $10.  We walked in the store and immediately found Matt behind the counter.

A white 27 year old physics grad student at Penn State, Matt is originally from Boston.  He said he plans to concentrate his studies on Newtonian physics and would really be happy if someone would recommend him for the MacArthur Fellowship – aka the Genius Award which is given out each year to 20-40 people in the US of any age and working in any field who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.”  While you are at it, you can recommend me too!  Aside from the recognition, you get a cool $500,000.

Matt said he didn’t have much planned for the end of the year.  As a Buddhist he said he would not be celebrating much except for New Year’s Eve, which he planned to have a few drinks.  St. Patrick’s Day, he said, was really his favorite holiday.

So the big question.  What is he going to do with his $10?  Matt plans to buy some Marlboro Menthol Lights in the short 72mm hard packs.  I had no idea that there were so many options with cigarettes.  Now, I can honestly tell you that this is the first time in my life that I have ever given money to someone to buy cigarettes.  I am vehemently opposed to smoking.  Just a note to those who do smoke this type…check out this review of them on rateitall.com.  I don’t know if the info there is true or not, but there is a claim there that those specific cigarettes have “a ‘salt’ (not like the kind you eat) in them that allows the nicotine to be absorbed by the very sensitive skin in you tongue, cheeks, throat, etc.”  Matt, I have a great suggestion for a New Year’s resolution for you :).  You can do it!  BTW, congrats to my friend Aimee who just celebrated one month without smoking.

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