I spent hours wrapping gifts for foster children who had a great need and would have nothing for Christmas. I was appealed to by my dearest friend who works for a private foster agency regarding two sisters who did not have a sponsorship for their Christmas needs. Since my son is the birth child of a foster child we had in our home at one time, the needs of foster children is a cause dear to my heart. I in turn appealed to my company and many of the employees purchased toys and clothing and the children will be well taken care of, at least on Christmas day. It is heartbreaking, however, the extent of the need and how little most of us give the rest of the year. These are children whose needs extend far far beyond Christmas day. And in this year of economic chaos, hundreds of thousands out of work, the wealthy feeling their stock losses, the need for charity is overwhelming and the charities themselves are overwhelmed. Here in my little corner of the world I know about the Jewish Federation, among other things. They help families of all faiths pay their rent, their electric bills, they maintain a food bank, they collect gift cards for needy teenagers and clothing for everyone, they bring a seder to assisted living residents and holiday baskets to families with nothing, they purchase, stuff and distribute over 6,000 backpacks each fall to needy students; but it is never enough. And this year, it is really not enough. The only thing that trickles down in this trickle-down economy the Bush administration has bragged of so much is the consequences of failure. You lose your job, possibly your home, and the people who might have helped are also feeling pinched because their bonuses have been cut back to a few million (not discussing profits now) so the charities that depend on private funds (their government funding having been gutted in the name of private enterprise and war mongering) have none to help you. So while the CEOs worry about whether they can maintain three homes instead of five, or fly business class instead of the corporate jet, you are standing in line for a basket of food to make a Christmas dinner. I know this year that despite how tight my own circumstances are, I have given more than I thought I could; I worry about what will happen the other 364.
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