Helen McCarthy Reflects on Her Experience of Giving Back This Year

A critical family value for me is giving back. There are countless ways to give: time, skills, money. As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, I try to figure out different ways to give. For the last few years, I’ve discovered that adopting a family (giving holiday meals and gifts) is a terrific experience. I recently connected with Journey Home – so adopting a family who recently transitioned from chronic homelessness to housing seemed perfect. I was able to specify a single parent – since that’s been my personal experience and I know just how difficult it is to be a single parent, especially at the holidays. My children helped with the shopping as well as the drop off. It is so amazing to have my children share the experience and be “hooked” to giving.

The children in our adopted family were wide-eyed and SO excited: Dad was overwhelmed. We were bursting with excitement at being able to provide a sliver of joy to a family that has been through so much. They are a model of having so little material things and so rich in family connection.

Of course it’s great fun to think about thoughtful gifts for family and friends, but nothing compares to the realization that you’ve made a very real difference in a family’s ability to share in the spirit of the holiday: joy, excitement, relaxing dinner with the family. This is what it is all about, and makes our Christmas that much brighter.