Friday, October 17, 2008

Mary - Red Cross Award

I live in Washington State and I am unable to attend the 2008 Contra Costa County Act of Kindness & Philanthropy Hero award ceremony honoring my sister, Mary Perez. I am very proud of her and the work she does to help others.

In the beginning it was hard to understand and accept that Mary was not spending all day with our family on Christmas--helping to prepare the meal, opening gifts, and just spending time with our family.

As we all became aware of the huge needs of others who have no one else to celebrate with on Christmas day, we each in our own way understood why Mary took on this project. No other group or organization was offering help to all of these people within our community and she found ways to help out. Two of my children helped with Christmas for Everyone and Mary’s other program that she ran for ten years--Teens Who Care.

I don’t think most people realize the scope of what Mary and her dedicated team of friends and volunteers actually do. It isn’t just fixing a meal for someone who is hungry or giving them a gift. There are weeks of preparation that go into the planning, and weeks of work to get the facility ready. Much time is spent asking businesses and individuals to donate money, food, and goods so that the team can feed 3,000 people and give them all a gift, good used clothing for everyone who needs it. Volunteer carolers sing for those enjoying a full Christmas dinner, others offer free haircuts, Christmas photos, and even a band to entertain those who wait their turn outside. Helpers are also delivering meals to those who are house-bound and picking up and bringing those who cannot drive to CFE.

At the end of the day when everyone has been served, then and only then does Mary go to our mother’s home where she is sometimes too tired to eat dinner or open her own gifts. And the next day she begins the clean up process that sometimes takes another week. No, she is still not done because she then plans a party for her volunteers to say thank you to them for their hard work.

I can’t be with her on her special day, but she is in my heart and I am very proud of her.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails