Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Useful Gifts/Northampton Survival Center

   Living in a small space really makes you think about the amount of stuff you have. I really don't have that much stuff, I've gotten rid of a lot of it over the years and each time I've moved. But when you don't have a lot of living space, what little stuff you DO have seems like too much. This has made me very mindful of my purchases and especially of the gifts that I give and receive. I'd rather get a useful gift than something that will take up more space and won't get used. Don't get me wrong, I love clothes, books, music, and smelly lotions just as much as the next girl, but if I want that kind of stuff, I'll just buy it for myself. When receiving a gift, I'd rather it be something useful. Over the years I've developed a deep appreciation for incredibly useful, practical gifts. There's nothing I love more than when someone recognizes another person's need for something and then gives it to them.
   I wanted to share one of the most useful gifts I ever received. When I was 18 years old, I moved out of my parents' house and into my own apartment. I had no idea what I was doing and I was totally unprepared for the situations that might come up when you live alone. One of the gifts that my parents gave me during that time was this beauty:

   That's right, a simple toolbox with a few basic tools. At the time, I thought, "What am I going to do with this?" But this gift has been used over the years more times than I can count (particularly the level!). I am so grateful that my parents recognized what I needed and gave it to me. I love this toolbox! I wish more people gave useful gifts like this!
   Useful gifts don't have to be something material. A useful gift could be giving someone support or providing friendship or volunteering your time. I was scheduled to do some volunteer work last fall at the Northampton Survival Center. The Survival Center is an emergency food pantry that provides low-income families in Hampshire County with free food, clothing, and personal care items. I wanted to put my office skills to use and help people, so I met with the staff at the Survival Center and arranged a time to come in each week to work in their office. Unfortunately, the week I signed up I also received a full time job offer from somewhere else, so I never got a chance to volunteer. But I still drop off clothing and other items whenever I get the chance.
   I guess where I'm going with this is, you never know how important a useful gift could be to someone. I never would have guessed that the toolbox I received over a decade ago would still be one of my favorite belongings. Next time you give a gift, consider making it a useful one! 
   To give the gift of your time or learn more about the Northampton Survival Center, visit

"The hands that give are more pious than the hands that pray..."


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