Well, there's no getting around the fact that for most of us, in our extended, metaphorical, 401-K-ish wallet, there's less than there was last year.
But if you're reading this blog, there's an exceedingly high probability that there's more in your wallet than there is in that of the average person who uses the services of St. Francis House.
For 25 years, St. Francis House has been serving the poor and homeless of Boston. St. Francis House - which is, by the way non-denominational (although founded by Franciscans) - provides basic and rehabilitative services. The painting shown here was done by Ivory, who is a frequent visitor to the SFH Art Room, the "headquarters" for the Expressive Therapy program. Almost all of Ivory's pictures are of trees, and this is one of my favorite of his works.
The St. Francis House motto is "rebuilding lives", and SFH does so with remarkable success. But before you can rebuild, you need to feed and clothe, and a lot of what St. Francis House provides is simply that. And while demand for "consumer goods" may be falling this holiday season, I can assure you that demand for food and clothing at St. Francis House isn't.
We have, in fact seen the average number of meals (breakfast and lunch) served each day skyrocket over the last year. Clothing demands are always great, especially in the winter.
The need at St. Francis House is great, and growing greater, as the marginal in our society are always the first, worst, and longest victims of an economic downturn.
St. Francis House works with poor and homeless adults. Christmas in the City helps poor and homeless children have a real Christmas. Unless you're in downtown Boston, we're running a bit late to get anyone to sponsor a "wish list" for one of the thousands of kids that Christmas in the City helps out each year. But you can still make an online donation, or send in a check. As the vice-president-in-charge-of-recording-checks-and-depositing-them this year, I can promise you that 100% of your donation goes to the kids (and to helping their parents get back on their feet). Christmas in the City is an all-volunteer endeavor, and the lowest overhead outfit I've ever seen. (It's run out of Kennedy Brother Physical Therapy and fitness center, and you can barely get to the equipment these days, what with the piled up gifts all over the place.)
Like everyone else, you have your favorite charities.
These are mine.
If you haven't finished your shopping yet, a donation to either of these organizations makes an excellent gift for that special someone who's hard to shop for and doesn't need another darn thing (e.g., another wallet).