For each birthday, anniversary, and Christmas, Russell and I struggle to find good gifts for each other. We are so blessed to be happy with what we have and long for little. Since this gift process stresses me out, I always start thinking about it months before the day. But, this year for Christmas, we’ve already found the perfect gift. And I wish I could take credit for it.

As I was looking over my 30 things to do before I’m 30 list, I paused on number two: to give regularly and substantially to charity. No better time to start this than during the holidays, so I apprehensively told Russell that I wanted to adopt a family for Christmas. Instead of rolling his eyes at me, he responded, “Why don’t we give each other that for our Christmas gifts?”

And then I melted and fell in love with him all over again.

Since my mom runs a non-profit pre-school called Mainspring Schools in Austin, we decided to make the contribution to one of her families. I excitedly called her to tell her of our plan, and she immediately said, “Man, have I got the perfect family for y’all!”

She told me about the Garcia family. This hard-working, generous family, who had been dealt a very tough hand. Who were determined to make a better life. But, who were struggling to feed their kids, who wouldn’t be able to give their kids Christmas presents, who desperately needed help.

The couple had three kids, all enrolled in my mom’s school. The wife makes and decorates cakes, while the husband works as a janitor at a local hospital. When that hospital was recently bought out by another hospital, they cut his wages to save money. What seemed like a small percent to salvage the yearly budget to the corporate executives, meant a more than 10% cut for this already struggling family.

To make matters worse, their in-laws found themselves unable to care for their own children. Resorting to a half-way house, they dropped their kids off with the Garcia family. Now, the Garcia family is forced to make ends meet for six children, under the age of seven, all on a reduced income.

While times are rough, my mom reports that the family remains supportive to one another, doing what it takes to survive from one day to the next.

With contributions to my mom’s school, the Garcia family – and many other deserving families like them – will be able to have a joyous holiday. They will have food and other household necessities. The kids will get clothes and books and a toy. The parents will be able to relax, for at least one day, without worrying where their next meal will come from.

Russell and I are honored to be a part of this gift to them. I hope you will consider joining us.

Visit http://www.mainspringschools.org to donate today.

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