Recently, I overheard two women talking about their trip to a local store, where they purchased Christmas gifts for some less fortunate children. While paying for their merchandise, the cashier rather glibly told them they were wasting their money that the parents who take advantage of Payson's Christmas charities would rather spend their hard-earned money on gambling, alcohol or other vices.
Obviously, this cashier has a lot to learn about the world, about the human spirit, about Christmas.
In the 12 years I've been involved with the Payson Toy Drive (now Santa's List) and the Angel Tree program, I've seen first-hand who receives our assistance. The people served by the toy drive are almost always humbled by the experience; they regret having to ask for help, but they swallow their pride for the sake of their children.
Our recipients are often recently singled husbands or wives, a parent who has just lost a job, a dad who has not been able to find work, or a mom who is waiting tables at two restaurants to make ends meet.
As is often the case, ends don't always meet, and I applaud those parents who accept the help available to them. These people exemplify the indomitable human spirit the will to fight for their children's happiness despite the odds.
I've see how these people react on delivery day with surprise, with tears and with an appreciation that cannot be described.
If you have ever shared the cashier's opinion about our Christmas charities please keep that opinion to yourself. Don't discourage others from helping this worthwhile cause.
I'm very proud of the work that Santa's List has done in this community. And while we struggle these last few days to make sure all our Angels are adopted, I pray that you will flock to our Angel Trees to ensure that our children don't spend a year without Santa.