There is a song with the lyrics – “out of the ashes we rise” – and you know what? It really is true. We see it time and time again, during the darkest nights for some, others step up to be their light.
A few days ago I watched as devastation struck a family in our neighborhood. Just before the kids were set to arrive home from school we noticed black smoke billowing up over the rooftops on our street. My husband was on his way home and noticed the smoke from the main road – he was relieved to find me standing in our kitchen and the baby sleeping upstairs – but relief quickly turned to sadness as we realized that the black smoke was coming from a home a few houses down, the home of some of my children’s classmates.
The family was all safe, the children at school, and their mother got out of the house with the dog – but it was too late for all of their possessions. This family lost everything, and is now forced to start over with their four children.
The most amazing part of this tragedy though was watching our community step up and come to their aid. “Out of the ashes we rise” – and before the fire was even put out, they had donations of clothes, food, toiletries and a friends home to stay in. It was so beautiful to watch the neighbors come together and give back to this family.
We have been so blessed and this time of year can be so cold and dark for so many. In the true spirit of Christmas it is always my goal to give back during the Holiday Season and be the light that so many need.
I know many of you feel this too, as I saw in my own neighbors this week, that just a small amount of giving can make the world of a difference to that one person in the dark.
So many of us want to be the light for others and give back this time of year – and often we don’t know where to begin, or think that we don’t have enough to make a difference. We wonder where to donate? Who needs gifts? Food? Shelter? Clothing? Which organizations need help?
My family starts simple at home – delivering a card and a plate of goodies to the put a smile on a friends face. Taking a bag of necessities to a man sleeping on the streets. Dropping off warm coats and hats to a shelter. Inviting someone into our home that has no family to spend the Holidays with.
But the darkness is still there and we want to do more. We talk to our children about giving back. We show our children how blessed we are and what it means to share the love of the season with those who need it the most.
There is darkness all over the world that needs our light – our gifts – they need each of us to give back just a little bit of what we have been blessed with. There are so many amazing organizations to give to so each year our family chooses a cause, that is dear to our hearts.
Organizations and causes like Save the Children, the USO and Heart to Heart international.
This year we have decided to partner with Johnson & Johnson and give back to the very causes that we care the most about with their Donate a Photo app and the Save the Children “gifts of joy” catalog.
This is a wonderful way for all of you wondering where to give or how you can make a difference, to give back. The Donate a Photo app makes it easy to give to the causes you care about by simply donating a photo. Sharing through social media you can inspire others to get involved and give back too.
For every photo shared through the Donate a Photo app, Johnson & Johnson will give $1 to the cause of your choice. And when you purchase a gift through the Save the Children “gifts of joy” catalog, Johnson & Johnson will match your donation (up to $450,000).
If you are feeling blessed this season and wanting to give back to those that are in the dark and needing a little of bit light, I hope you’ll take a moment to share your photos. Even the smallest of gifts can make the biggest difference for someone.
***Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn’t reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.