2nd morality thought: last week, Teddy Rose, avid Short Story Monday participant, commented on my review of "Brother Robber":
I don't usually read Chrismas stories because I don't celebrate the holiday. However it sounds like a good message. I just hate Christmas stories that send the message to not let people starve on Christmas, because it seems to me they should never starve.
I thought the comment interesting, especially as I'd not really noticed that there was a preponderous amount of such stories. However, when the first story I stumbled upon this week also dealt with hungry people at Christmas, I thought maybe Teddy was onto something. So then I reflected upon the rest of her comment.
Of course, it's true, no one should starve at any time of the year. So why then am I, as I'm sure many people are, more likely to donate food at Christmas then other points of the year? And is this necessarily a bad thing? I'm not suggesting that I'll find an easy answer, but I do want to try and address her very valid observation.
I have a number of reasons. One, if I was personally homeless at Christmas, I think I'd find the day even more difficult than the others. Christmas is a special time for me and to be that down and out at this time of the year would be almost unbearable. If someone could alleviate my hunger, if someone reached out to me, I think it would help lift my spirits. But even if I did not celebrate Christmas, I think seeing others being happy and well-fed and even frivolous, would make my situation feel even worse. Again, knowing that I was at least considered on that day, might help. I say this all without ever having been even close to such a situation, and I don't presume to know how homeless people might feel. Yes, I realize that they, as would everyone, prefer to always have food, not just at the holidays, but if taking it one day at a time, Christmas is a good a day as any, I would imagine. And if I can't afford to be donating food everyday, there's certainly no harm in making it Christmas day is there? I would hope that if everyone donated at Christmas, food banks might even take in a surplus and use it for the other 364 days of the year-- no different really than if they made an arbitrary day Food Donation Day. Say March 3rd. If Christmas shoppers want to spend some cash on something less frivolous, even if just to ease their conscience, is that bad? Should food banks not take advantage of this? Again, I don't really know. To me Christmas is a peaceful, hopeful time. If I donate some food or clothes or whatever to someone less fortunate at Christmas, I hope it provides some temporary relief, and I hope long term relief is just around the bend.
On that note, "Amanda's Special Gift" is about Amanda, a little girl who has her first encounter with a homeless woman. She decides to help her out and her enthusiasm for the task is caught by those around her. But seeing the potential in everyone, it leads to a lifelong career for Amanda. I've given away the ending, I know, but it captures the hopefulness that I feel at Christmas while, most importantly for this post, hopefully addresses Teddy's concern about charity beyond Christmas.
Anyway, thanks to Teddy for the food for thought. Pardon the pun.
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