This holiday season is going to be very different for a lot of people, given the state of the economy. Layoffs, uncertainty and tight credit markets. Every day seems to bring more bad news. Today, we learned that the unemployment rate is skyrocketing and more jobs were lost last month than any time in the last 34 years.
Many families, mine included, are looking for ways to make things a little brighter this year for someone less fortunate. But how do you know who to help? Where does your money make the most difference? I’d like to make a suggestion.
The Christmas Box Lifestart Initiative is a program that we’ve endorsed for their work to improve the lives of children and teens whose lives have been marred by abuse or neglect. Earlier this week,I attended a monthly meeting held to discuss the progress of the Lifestart program. We discussed good news – donations continue to pour in and more states are clamoring to receive Lifestart kits for their youth aging out of foster care, desperate to seek help for the youth who have no one else to champion them.
One of those states is Ohio. The numbers are astounding. 1,300 youth EACH YEAR age out of the system in Ohio alone.
1,300 youth who have to face life on their own, with nothing.
1,300 youth with nothing. No family support. Few skills. No basic necessities. And a bleak prospect for the future.
1,300 doesn’t sound like a lot, until you realize that is one state. In order to provide a Lifestart kit to every youth aging out of the system in just Ohio, it would require funds nearing $130,000. And there are many other states besides Ohio where the Lifestart initiative is desperately needed. And thousands of youth.
Don’t let all those zeroes scare you.
If every reader of this blog this month donated $25 to $100, together we could reach that number.*
The holidays this year might look a little bleaker than in years past, but it doesn’t take much to light the life of someone who doesn’t have much. The$25 or $100 you donate doesn’t just feed someone a single meal or provide a few day’s respite – it is an investment in someone’s future. It provides sheets, blankets, dishes, silverware and other bare necessities we take for granted – giving the youth the foundation they need to pursue their dreams and goals.
This year, as the winter grows colder and the economic challenges keep coming, let each of us remember that there are millions of people – strangers and loved ones – who are worse off.
And let us be generous and grateful.
*In appreciation, Operation Kids will match any donation made toward the Lifestart program, dollar-for-dollar.