Giving is Receiving
Memories of Christmas come in as many shapes and colors as the gift-wrapped boxes beneath the tree. As a child, we remember the lights, the music, and the toys. As we grow older, we learn about the birth of Jesus and the importance of spending time with family.
Older yet, we experience the joy in giving, more so than receiving, and begin to understand the relevance of earlier Christmases.
Finally matured, we are able to put the entire holiday season into perspective; inevitably concluding that the celebration of the birth of Jesus includes assisting those in need with both the intangible, like friendship, love, compassion, and fellowship, and the tangible, like toys, clothing, and money.
Christmas Cash for Kids has been an outlet for both for the past 35 years. It has fostered a climate that allows givers to “get it,” that is, the moment they show through action that they understand the true meaning of Christmas; that giving is receiving.
In a perfect world, Christmas Cash for Kids wouldn't exist. Unfortunately, there will always be children who need the community to surround them.
Christmas Cash for Kids exists to ensure that more than 2,000 children remember this Christmas – when Santa showed up despite a tough year for the family. It exists to make sure that a child doesn't have to say "nothing" when asked at the bus stop, "What did you get for Christmas?"
It exists if for nothing else, to bring a smile to the face of a child and relief to a parent who amidst tough times, has carried the burden of ensuring Santa's arrival.
Starting at 5 A.M. on WFMD (AM 930) just two days ago and ending this Friday evening, Christmas Cash for Kids inspires area residents of all ages to think of others instead of themselves.
Sometimes steady, sometimes sporadic, phones ring in the phone bank, the side door to the station opens and the hallway fills with givers; people stop by remote locations to hand off a dollar or two, and in some cases hundreds.
Frederick is giving, regardless of age or financial ability. An unemployed father gives a dollar because "it is the right thing to do."
He gets it.
An 11-year-old girl gives $20 with tears in her eyes, because when younger she "remembered what it was like to have nothing."
She has been there, done that and she gets it.
A family of relative fortune makes Christmas Cash for Kids a yearly tradition of their own and drops off $650 because they can, and because it provides an education to their children that will earn dividends ten-fold.
They get it.
An 11-year-old boy tells listeners "I think giving is important because I have more than I need and I know there are those that don't have anything."
He really gets it.
A local high school varsity cheerleading squad drops off their collection and in the process reinvigorates the studio with a cheer. The chaperone smiles and whispers – "I think they will want to make this an annual tradition."
She gets it. And they do, too.
All involved will be quick to tell you that their success is merely a bi-product of the concern and contribution of donors.
While certainly true, their dedication and sacrifice can’t be overstated.
It starts with a specific family that has taken the role of operations management and public relations. They organize the troops, purchase the gifts, run the phone bank, tally the contributions, and a list of other duties of which few know. They do it with purpose. They do it with a smile. They are genuine and generous. There is no Christmas Cash without them.
Current and former on-air personalities at WFMD recite memories of Christmas Cash for Kids of past years, banter with donors who stop by the studio, and serve as a human collection plate through remote broadcasts. Their concerted effort is to drive listeners to take action.
There is no better gift than the guarantee that every child in Frederick County ends the day feeling that they matter, that they haven't been skipped, that they are loved and have been included.
By donating a few dollars, you can put a smile on the face of a child on Christmas morning. By donating a few dollars, you can put a smile on your heart forever.
By donating a few dollars you too can "get it."
(Portions of this column were originally published December 3, 2009, in The Frederick News-Post.)
[Editor’s Note: Bob Miller, Frederick’s Morning Mayor on WFMD, has led the charge for Christmas Cash for Kids for several years. To make your donation, give the station a call at 301/694-9363, and brighten your day – and Christmas Day for someone less fortunate.]