“As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.” – Eric Sevareid (CBS news journalist from 1939 to 1977)
Christmas occupies varying places in our lives as Americans. For many, obviously, it’s about the holiest day of the Christian year. For others, it’s more about the magic of Saint Nick and Rudolph, or Chevy Chase lighting up the neighborhood in “Christmas Vacation” and Will Ferrell prancing around Manhattan in tights as “Elf.” For retailers, it’s the “whole shebang” from a financial standpoint. And for some of my Jewish friends, it’s a great time to sample the local Chinese cuisine and enjoy a day off after Chanukah is over.
Whatever Christmas is or isn’t to you, I hope yesterday was a day of peace and gratitude for you and yours.
The meaning of Christmas is as personal and varied as our community as a whole. That’s why this quote from the venerable Eric Sevareid struck me as so relevant. For most of us, what our parents taught us about the meaning of the holiday has never left us, and has taken on even deeper and perhaps more varied meaning as we live and experience our own lives.
With that in mind, I want to thank the many Y associates, partners and volunteers who supported our annual Giving Tree program. The outpouring of support that the Y community showed this year, as in past years, to the far too many children and families in need over holidays is incredibly moving. With your generous support, 630 kids were surprised in the best possible way for the holidays. Gifts included more than $4,000 in gift cards, along with puzzles, Legos, winter coats, shoes, dolls, trucks and so much more! Additionally, all Y preschoolers (more than 500 kids) received brand new books!
The young people who were the recipients of such an outpouring of generosity were from Y Head Start sites, Y Before and After School Enrichment programs, Y Preschools, Y Community Schools, “Littles” (mentees) from Big Brothers Big Sisters at the Y and the YES Center, Baltimore City’s drop-in center for homeless youth.
In typical Y fashion, everyone got in on the action. Ornaments specifying needs were made by Y kids across a wide variety of preschools, Y Achievers, Y members, students from Waverly Elementary and Middle School – more than 1,000 young people total pitching in! A big thanks goes out to our terrific Giving Tree corporate partners, including IKEA, J.C. Penny White Marsh, Horseshoe Casino, Revere Bank, and Bowie & Jensen!
Here is a photo of the scene just at one Y site (our Association Office)! Multiply that by 13 and you will be able to visualize the magnitude of our Y community’s generosity!
Thank you all! The power of the simple and profound act of giving is something we can all agree upon this season.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland