Helping Hands in the Spirit of John and Elizabeth Edwards
JRE may be out of the public spotlight most of the time. However, his campaign's spirit of helping others in a time of need lives on in many of us.
BW readers may remember that I work in a university library. It is a long standing tradition for our library to organize some type of event at holiday time to assist others in need during this time of the year. Last year library staff were very generous with a food drive for the Food Bank. At my institution, the Faculty Staff Assistance Program, FSAP, compiles a list of the most needy families they have assisted through the year. FSAP contacts these families for a 'wish list' for the holidays, and then individual campus units and departments are asked to sponsor a family. Wish list items are collected in the units, and then presented to the family before the holiday break. What's nice is the FSAP keeps the family names anonymous and confidential. My library decided to "adopt" a family.
Our unit's "family's" father is an employee who has been battling lung cancer and other health issues. He is currently unable to work and has undergone surgery just two weeks ago for another condition. Doctors are unable to start a cancer treatment regimen until other issues are resolved and he is stronger. The employee lives with his wife and two sons, ages 11 and 23. Both sons have cerebral palsy and are wheel-chair bound. The mother stays home with her sons to manage their health care.
As you might surmise from reading their story, finances are tight, and the prospects for the holiday are not bright. This family has only one full time employee income, and that member is now unable to work. FSAP supplied us this family's wish list, which was so modest. All they wanted was a Bears sweatshirt, some socks, underwear, and chocolate covered cherries for each person.
Our library raised enough not only to buy gift cards for their underwear and socks, many employees bought the boxes of the candy too. In addition, we raised over $2k in cash to give to them. Librarians are not wealthy at all, but we have big hearts. Tomorrow I will be helping out to wrap the presents.
One of my buddies whom I met through John Edwards' campaign said that her family is buying personal hygiene items and some cuddly toy bears for some folks at a nursing home as often seniors only get $30 monthly to buy such things and certainly, the bear would cheer up anyone. She and her family are offering a great helping hand too.
I wish John and Elizabeth would start another OneCorps to continue the much needed work to be done for the working poor or just helping our communities. I know Elizabeth talked about this when we were on the phone with her back in February, but so much has happened since then.
The spirit of John and Elizabeth Edwards: they had the right ideas, and there is so much we can do lift people up on a local level.