'Tis the season to give back.
On "Giving Tuesday," I was struck by the tender sincerity happening on Dalton Street. Workers at Cincinnati's largest post office are combing through hundreds of "Dear Santa" letters to find the ones from folks who really need St. Nick.
Sure, some notes request big screen TVs and new bling, but there's a whole crowd of people out there who are hurting, and their humble requests beg for little more than socks and coats, or maybe a toy or two for a little one.
It's these meager asks that bring on the waterworks for me.
My first career as a TV news producer was not lucrative. While this is a surprise to many outside of the business, it is a reality many journalists know all too well. There were times when I had to choose between unexpected car repair and an aging utility bill. Sometimes that meant spending a night in the dark.
It's amazing how candlelight, a red bottle of wine and a good book can help you forget the harsh reality of an anemic bank account.
And so, even on my worst days, I am deeply aware of the many blessings operating in my life. From my upbringing to my education, to my optimistic outlook and good health: I have many things for which I'm thankful.
My own financial struggles and the self-awareness of my blessings have fostered a deep passion for the financial stability of others. I truly believe in the mission of helping others so they may move on and foster their own economic prosperity.
It's that philosophy that motivates my charitable giving and volunteer interests.
Saturday is my birthday, and it is not a coincidence that I intend to spend a part of that day with a little bit of gratitude for my blessings and an opportunity to pay it forward. I'll be combing through the "Dear Santa" letters at Dalton Street to see how I can help make someone's day a wee bit easier.
I'm told you can read the letters between noon and 7 p.m.; the letters from families with one or two children go quickly. If you arrive later you'll likely find tons of notes from families with between five and eight children, and a handful of letters with three or four kids.
Another great way to help others in need is the Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati's Fairy Godmother Program. The ETC treats more than 1,200 students from around Over-the-Rhine and Cincinnati to the theatre's annual holiday musical. It's an opportunity to expose young people to the pleasure of cultural experience.
By contributing $50 to ETC's Fairy Godmother Program, you can give one child the gift of live theatre, a nutritious snack at the performance, transportation to and from the event, and a take-home project that reinforces the play's positive message.
You can donate here, or by calling the ETC box office at 513-421-3555.
Disclosure: Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati was kind enough to offer me a pair of complimentary tickets to its latest show, "Alice in Wonderland." The show is perfect for families and even "big kid" singletons. It runs through December 30.
Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.