Not A Hand Out..

It’s a Hand Up


For the last 14 years, one of the local radio stations has been doing this “Hope for the Holidays” thing.  From about Thanksgiving until Christmas, they do it once or twice a day during the weekday morning show. Since I generally only listen to the radio in my car, and I have a bad habit of channel surfing, I just catch it when I happen upon it.

The basic  premise is that so often, people just…get in a jam. They aren’t people who are looking to suck the teat of society. They just have fallen down for one reason or another and are having a hard time getting back up. The bitch is that these are the people who generally are not eligible for standard charities and assistance. Often these people are just screwed with no options. That’s what HftH is about.

It works about the way you would think it would. The needy person writes or emails in or someone writes in their behalf. After due diligence, the DJ calls them up on air. He talks to them about their situation.  He finds out their needs and then opens the phone lines. The listeners call in and pledge what they can. The idea is to give the recipient a “hand up” so they can get back to living life again, unassisted.

These stories almost never fail to mist me up, if not full on make me cry.  Sometimes the people are going through such horrific tragedies that I can’t begin to wrap my mind around what it must feel like to be them.  Closer to home, though, are the people whose stories are not much different from mine. “But for the grace of God, that could be me.”

Honestly, I more often cry at the generosity of the people of Kansas City.  Some years, pitching in was simply an impossibility for me. Other years, I decide what I can comfortably do and then just mail it into the station. I do not have the patience to try to call in, so I could never comment on which family/person I actually assisted.  It humbles me to daily witness the people who do try time after time to willingly help a total stranger.

I know.  “It’s Christmas” and all of that.  But it somehow restores my faith in the basic goodness of most people. This is the local “Hard Rock” station. The demographics are the younger guys and blue-collar people.  In a lot of cases, people who work  hard and sometimes struggle themselves.  I think my biggest (albeit selfish) wish this christmas, is that I *never* need to be helped. But I hope, too, next year I can do more.

Thanks, The Rock and Johnny.  In some ways, you help me every day of this campaign! And I totally forgive you for making me sob like a bitch almost every morning driving to work.


~ by Layla on December 23, 2009.

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