Kids’ thanks keep the spirit alive at St. Vincent de Paul

The following article written by Steve Zabilski appeared in The Arizona Republic on January 30, 2010.

Feeling down after putting away all those lights and decorations? Here’s a surefire pick-me-up courtesy of your local St. Vincent de Paul.

A box of thank-you cards just arrived from the sweetest little angels you ever saw, the children at the Palomino School in north Phoenix. We invited them to one of our thrift stores to buy presents for 50 cents, so they could make Christmas special for their loved ones. What we got in return was priceless.

Picture 264“Every Christmas all I can afford to give my mom is a drawing or a note,” wrote Vanessa. “But this time I gave her a real present, and it was because of you.”

“Thank you for the great gifts you let us buy for our parents,” wrote Jonathon. “They were crying when they opened them.”

I see lots of miracles as head of St. Vincent de Paul, made possible by your volunteering and contributing. But nothing moves your heart like the thanks of a child, especially the 400 heartwarming thank-you cards that came from these kids.

These innocents are the side of poverty you don’t see—the families of the working poor. Their parents, often a single parent, work hard to shelter, feed and clothe their children. But there are no extras like toys, new clothes, weekend movies or Christmas presents they do not expect to receive, let alone give.

So we invite them to our Bell Road thrift store to buy two, or more, presents for a mere 50 cents, so on Christmas morning they can make their families smile with unexpected gifts. Maybe it’s a new (slightly used) pair of work boots for Dad or a purse for Mom. Possibly it’s a favorite CD for their brother or sister to off at school.

Picture 292Listening to their giggles, their oohs and ahs as they shared the treasures they found and gladly handed over their 50 cents, it was hard to fight back the tears of joy. These little bundles of love acted like they won the lottery simply because they could give a present to someone they loved.

“I got my dad a tie,” boasted Aushie. “He loved it so much he wore it to church and told everyone his daughter gave it to him for Christmas.”

“I gave my mom teacups,” said Isela. “Then we all drank cocoa out of them with marshmallows, and it tasted so good.”

“Thank you to all of you nice people,” wrote Jennifer. “You show us how to do the right things in life being nice to people.”

Thanks from the bottom of my heart to everyone who allows St. Vincent de Paul to make miracles happen. I hope St. Vincent’s gave you a little bit of inspiration back.

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