Every Thanksgiving it’s kind of a given that we give thanks for the roof we have over our head, but this year that concept really hits home with me. This year, I learned that my home of almost 10 years (a custom home that I put my heart and soul into planning and building) has Chinese drywall. We are now faced with leaving for approximately 6 months while our home is completely stripped, as in down to the studs, treated and rebuilt. So I’ve gained a new appreciation for the shelter we all sometimes take for granted and for the safety and security we feel knowing that we have a place to call home.
While I fretted over where my family of five (plus our canine companion) would reside during the remediation of our home and began the process of purging attic, pantry and closets, it really struck me how much excess we have and, in contrast, how little many in our neighboring communities have. As I’ve looked for rental housing in all areas of town, I’ve been contemplating the adjustments my family will have to make negotiating smaller rooms and less storage and we’ve been going through the mental process of determining what we actually NEED versus what we WANT. I’ve listened to my teenagers bemoan not being able to take all of their possessions and their utter dismay upon learning they would likely have to share a bedroom and a bathroom, and I see that there is so much we take for granted on a daily basis. I’ve been wondering about all the people and families with children who don’t have a place to call home, and want to connect my family’s temporary displacement with something bigger. (I’m sure there’s a teachable moment here!)
The answer for me is close to home: My church serves as a host site for an organization that helps homeless families, the Birmingham Hospitality Network which recently changed its name to Family Promise of Birmingham, and it’s here that we are going to plug in during this season of giving and gain some perspective.
Gas gift cards
Wal-Mart or Target gift cards
Gently used luggage or tote bags
Blank note cards
Clear back packs for students
Buckets with cleaning supplies
Laundry soap/dryer sheets/bleach
A family timeout to help someone else–I think that’s a great way to begin this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!