Providence House 'thankful' for many gifts received
Today, as my thoughts turned in prayer toward Thanksgiving, I was reminded of the Christmas greeting a dear friend sent last year. His greeting, once again, brought tears to my eyes and to my heart. Coincidentally, as I was pondering his message, I was enjoying the song "Thankful" by the artist Josh Groban. My friend wrote, "Each year I am amazed that so few people can get so much done with so little."
As I was reflecting on Ray's words, Josh was singing, "We have so much to be thankful for. Some days we forget to look among us. Some days we can't see the joy that surrounds us." It was then that my heart swelled with awe and pride as I realized, yet again, that the youth, families, elders and Sisters of Providence at Providence House and Guerin Woods are showered every day with the goodness of individuals in our community. No expression of gratitude could ever be adequate to truly thank everyone who shows us kindness, who shows us the face of God.
Among the many who quickly come to mind are:
•A local baker who gifts us with fresh doughnuts;
•Jane, a dear person who works in the produce department of a local grocery and who inspired her manager to gift our children with fruit and vegetables nearly every week;
•A sophomore in high school who proudly chose to give his birthday money to Providence House so our children could have something special;
•The UPS employee who, while delivering a package, inquired about Providence House for Children, immediately went to the local Family Dollar to buy things he thought the children might enjoy, returned to the office, gave the gifts to our receptionist along with the remaining $29 in his pocket and asked her to make certain the children had a pizza party;
•Our town marshal, who with the help of his law enforcement friends and the town board garnered no-longer-used communications equipment and, on his own time, equipped our campus vehicles with the equipment, so that, if needed in case of a disaster, we would be able to communicate with various officials in securing the safety of our campus residents;
•A homemaker group who since 2000 has honored our children one Monday night every month with a special activity;
•A former mayor who during his tenure took time from his important and busy schedule to call bingo at our senior center;
•Three dedicated women who gave six hours of their time every Thursday for numerous years, preceding the dawn of Medicare D, to help low-income persons receive free prescriptions medications;
•Master Gardeners who till our community garden, ensuring fresh and delicious vegetables for our campus residents;
•Our elementary school principal who with her staff and teachers work to make certain that our elder residents receive lovely Christmas gifts;
•Countless generous individuals, churches and businesses who gift our children royally with all sorts of treasured Christmas gifts;
•Realtors who take the girls and boys on an annual back-to-school shopping trip;
•The salon that gives the children new styles and hair cuts before school starts;
•A state legislator who with his son delivered 16 boxes of fruit and, with the good help of many Duke Energy employees, hung icicle lights on all 13 of our campus buildings;
•250 loyal friends and neighbors who weathered 95-degree temperature to gather on a September afternoon to celebrate the beginning of a new program of our ministry called The Villas;
•Countless individual benefactors, one special sorority and local foundations who lend financial support; hundreds of individuals who give us words of encouragement which are a genuine inspiration;
•Our board of directors who are always willing to take calculated risks in offering new and innovative services to persons in need;
•And, most importantly, the dedicated and committed staff who believe in and truly live the mission of Providence Self Sufficiency Ministries and Guerin Inc. and who, while being grossly overworked, always have a spring in their gait and a welcome in their hearts and voices ensuring that our mission is accomplished. In short, this small group of people can get so much done because we are abundantly blessed with the friendship, loyalty and support of many who truly believe that their goodness and kindness will help to bring the change and peace for which we all long.
This Thanksgiving season, I pray that God, the giver of all gifts, will continue to reveal His goodness to this beloved community of individuals; and, that His spirit will rest gently upon us opening our eyes to see and our hearts to love so that His Providence will bring the outcomes that will bless those who are affected by each of our lives. In the words of Josh, "Our world needs so much, but there's so much to be thankful for."
Sister Barbara Ann Zeller, SP President/CEO, PSSM and Guerin Inc.
November 19, 2008