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The gift of giving

Diana-BejaranoThe holidays are upon us and, for many of our families, this means tamales, champurrado, buñuelos and Christmas dinner parties with family and friends. 

Every child wants to have that storybook Christmas with the hot chocolate, a warm meal and a big beautiful Christmas tree with lots of gifts underneath. 

The reality is that many families in the city that we live in are not so fortunate, and many of them go without Christmas gifts and sometimes without adequate amounts of food. According to the local St. Mary’s Food Bank website, one in four children are living in poverty.

As Latinas, it is in our nature to give and, this holiday season, I would like to challenge all of us to give even more.

Whether it’s donating a turkey dinner to St. Mary’s Food Bank, volunteering at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s dining hall in South Phoenix, or spending time with women at a domestic violence shelter, collectively, we can make a tremendous impact within our community – regardless of the size of any individual contribution.

The saying goes, “It is better to give than to receive.” I have personally experienced both giving and receiving and I concur that it is always more rewarding to be on the giving side. It’s a tremendous blessing to be a blessing to others.

As a young child, my mother and I had to flee domestic violence and we found refuge at a local women’s shelter, the Faith House in Glendale, Arizona. That was an experience that neither of us will ever forget. Because generous people donated to that organization, we had a safe place to go and we are forever grateful. 

Our giving doesn’t have to be huge to have a significant impact. More than 30 years later, I still remember staying those few nights at that women’s shelter. Unfortunately, in today’s society too many Latinas and their children continue to experience similar situations of domestic violence, just as we did so many years ago.  

I am convinced that every good deed has a ripple effect on the community, acts as simple as donating to your favorite charity, making a tax credit donation to an inner-city school like ASU Preparatory Academy in Phoenix, or volunteering at a local women’s shelter like Chicano por la Causa’s De Colores Women’s Shelter. Several churches and organizations, including the Salvation Army, also have holiday adopt-a-family programs. There are also organizations that help children of incarcerated parents, such as prisonfellowship.org’s Christmas Angel program.

I believe our acts of kindness and generosity can have a positive effect on those in need this holiday season.

This holiday season, I am thankful for so much including my health, my family, my occupation and my home. As we celebrate this year, my family’s focus will be on helping those less fortunate. I hope you will join me in impacting the lives of Arizona Latinas and their familias.

¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año! 

An Arizona native, Diana Bejarano, is a blogger, columnist, motivational speaker, marketing professional and a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Reach her on her website at latinastillstanding1.com or e-mail her at latinastillstanding@yahoo.com.

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This Article appears on the December 2013 issue of LPM under Latina Still Standing

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