Erin's Journals

Monday, December 11, 2023

Just a thought… Giving is not just about making a donation, it’s about making a difference. [Kathy Calvin]

And, oh, what a different way to get folks to give!

Two weeks today until Christmas, and we are now officially home for the holidays. Yes, there was a spur-of-the-moment trip to visit my younger sister Leslie, her family and my dad; the trip itself was, I hope, a success in lifting my sister’s spirits. Her family-run business is seeing the effects of a belt-tightening economy, bringing with it the angst that befalls a household where family and business completely overlap.

We had a lovely and productive four days together, but in this season of lights, one particular evening of red ones stands out. It was Monday, my first night there. We were sitting watching TV in the living room when suddenly the front windows of Leslie’s house lit up in flashing fashion. There was an emergency vehicle very close by and we wondered who was in peril. Perhaps the neighbour who’d just had surgery?

Leslie ran to peer out through the blinds to see who was being visited by police or ambulance, only to shout in alarm (no pun intended) that a firetruck was in front of our house! Was there a blaze in the apartment downstairs that no one had reported? Had someone called a SWAT team on them? Were they finally coming to take Leslie away?

When she ran to the door – and I’ll resist the Visit from St. Nick line “to see what was the matter” – she was startled even further to see a firefighter standing right there on her front steps.

What’s going on?” she laughed/shrieked uneasily as the young man stood there.

We’re collecting for the food drive!” he said cheerily.

(Cue raucous, relieved laughter from Leslie and the rest of us at the absurdity of what had just transpired in the last minute within the house.)

As her husband and I scurried to the cupboards to pull out any number of nonperishable and unexpired food items to give to him, Leslie chatted with the man at the door. Yes, it had been a brutal summer for West Kelowna’s firefighters and first responders: “Yeah, I saw a few hours of overtime,” he chuckled in understatement. How could we not give?

I’m only grateful the fellow most likely also knew CPR, because a parked firetruck with flashing red lights is a pretty sure way to bring on some kind of cardiac event.

Oh, and of course with each stop, neighbours would be as curious as Les was to see “what’s going on at that house now???” (a question I often ask myself when I get a text from Leslie LOL). It was a truly effective way to collect, but I’m sure they got some complaints. After all, people bitch about Amber Alerts, so….

So let this be a gentle reminder, please, if you can, to give to your local food bank. It is a four-alarm emergency: the shelves are bare and if you have a bit of money you can spare, the food bank folks can stretch your dollars far, and in the best ways. I always just donate via credit card; it takes but one minute and can make a huge difference in many families’ lives, now and year-round. And thank you. Especially to the firefighters who have put in a lot of overtime this year.

Take good care and thank you for joining me for Drift with Erin Davis: we’re focussing on Christmas and holiday stories now and you have more than 100 others to choose from. It’s all free, thanks to our friends at enVy Pillow and SierraSil. Sweet sugar plum dreams, my friend.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, December 11, 2023