Not only did we provide food, drinks and entertainment for over 900 guests participating in the drive for more toys, we also helped gather donations and toys for over 1300 families. The amazing part of this whole effort is that we worked side by side with work-release prisoners, categorizing toys and bagging in masses for families throughout the local community. I hoped that the other workers were also experiencing this feeling of euphoria.
It was tedious work, but after the third and fourth bag that I compiled for families with 2 to 3 children of varying ages, I felt like I was the one giving these toys to the families. I carefully chose each stuffed animal, each of the two stocking stuffers per child, each game, book and toy for the appropriate age groups.
As I was stuffing these bags, I became overwhelmed as I imagined the look of surprise on the children's faces Christmas morning. The gift I was giving was only of my time, but I was the one who received the biggest gift of all, this enormous gift of feeling worthy and good.
If you have the opportunity to join a group that works for the betterment of your community or for those less fortunate than you, I strongly urge you to participate. It has helped me understand the difference between obligation and just plain goodwill.
P.S. I didn't get to keep Clyde, but here's a picture of us bonding after a very long day.