I heard a very sad story yesterday, but it had a heartwarming ending.
There is a family in my hometown with five little kids who had signed up for adopt-a-family this Christmas. They’re a hard-working family, a blended family with five children under ten years old. Because everyone has fallen on tough times, they just didn’t have the money to buy gifts for their children.
A local youth group had signed up to adopt a family, so this large family was paired with the youth group. Because the youth group has so many members, they would likely have an easier time providing gifts for five children. This program doesn’t ask you to provide an amazing Christmas for these kids, just a few gifts under the tree. Maybe $25-$30 per child.
As of this weekend, the youth group still hadn’t brought in their gifts. They were past their deadline and the leader of the group wasn’t answering the phone or responding to messages. It was later discovered that they decided to not adopt the family after all and instead were spending their money on a trip for the group members.
Of course, no one is ever forced to donate. However, this group didn’t bother to tell anyone they had decided not to participate, and the organization thought this family was taken care of. Suddenly, it was a real possibility that these five little children wouldn’t have gifts under their tree. While I agree that perhaps Christmas is overcommercialized, I do think that every little child deserves to wake up and find a gift or two under the tree so they can continue to believe in the magic of Christmas.
Thankfully, the community stepped up. A local group of businessmen found out that this family’s adopters had flaked out, and even though they had adopted a number of other families, they pitched in to help this family of seven as well.
I wonder what this youth group was thinking by choosing to not fulfill their obligations. I hope this was a decision primarily on the leaders’ part, and that the children had nothing to do with it. I can’t imagine teaching a youth group that backing out on a commitment, especially a commitment like this one, is an acceptable thing to do.
I hope that everyone wakes up with gifts under their tree, be it gifts you actually get to open or just holiday blessings on you and your family and friends. Happy Holidays, everyone.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.