By Torri, Missouri State University
My freshman year of college was a pretty stressful time as I balanced school and finding a job that fit my class schedule. I received my first care package around Valentine’s Day, which was the perfect time because I really needed a pick me up. There were chocolates, which I shared with my roommate; a red scarf, which kept me warm during that frigid winter; and a few other knick-knacks I placed on my desk.
Back then, I never took the time to consider where all of these cool gifts came from. Not only were they cool because they helped me stay warm and gave me and my roommate something to snack on, but these items meant a lot to me because of the fact that people took time out of their day to create such a box. They weren’t forced to create this care package, and they didn’t get any special recognition as the sender was anonymous.
I receive a box every semester, and now that I am older I think about these gifts more and more. A few semesters ago I got a season of the TV show Scrubs and I can remember all the nights my now husband and I stayed up laughing as we watched each episode. I’ve also received shampoo, a helpful gift for when money is tight, and a little magnetic notepad. The notepad included a magnet with an inspirational quote, which I still have on my refrigerator.
All of these gifts have not only proven to be useful, but have given me a daily reminder of what it is truly like to give to someone less fortunate.
This year, I had a strange feeling that something was missing during Christmas time. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but as I was trying to figure out what to buy my husband, a realization hit me: I was once one of those little kids who barely got anything for Christmas. I remember the embarrassment and disappointment I suffered around the holiday as I lied to my friends about what I got in order to cover up the fact that we were too poor to do anything. Reflecting on my past experiences, I felt the sudden urge to help children instead of exchanging gifts with my husband. He and I decided to devote all of our energy to giving kids the best Christmas possible. If someone can devote the time and energy to make hundreds of care packages for all of us youth, then surely we could also give back.
Through all of this, I glanced at the refrigerator and read the magnet I received long ago. It reads:
“One day, I decided to help wherever I could and it was almost like magic because I was exactly what the world needed everywhere I went.”
I never truly understood that message until then, and now that I do, I feel the urge to take on more volunteer projects and help wherever and whenever I can!