Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Widow's Mite...modernized

I don't know if she's a widow, and unlike the story from the Bible, I know her name. It's Therese Currier. Really, I have no idea if she's even old enough to marry. But I think she's pretty special.

Our local paper runs a "Santa Fund" each year in partnership with the Salvation Army and the Nashua Pastoral Care Center to provide Christmas gifts to families in need. Each day, the paper includes a short profile on someone who's being helped by the Santa Fund, as well as a listing of the most recent contributions. I generally scan the lists, looking for interesting dedications--"In memory of my sweet Willoughby, the best dog ever"--or particularly noteworthy sums. There are lots of contributions of $20, $25, $50, a few $100+. The contributions over $1000 are generally from groups or companies. A local copy company recently donated $30,000, for which I'm sure everyone at the Fund is grateful.

Today, though, what caught my eye, was Therese's contribution: $3. Three. Dollars. Now, there are many who may scoff at the amount, wondering what toy or article of clothing can be bought with a measely $3? Well, in my experience, they'd be right--you can't buy much with $3.

But that's not the point. I look at all the other contributions, and I'm grateful for them, and glad people have been generous. Then I wonder how much it meant to them, and how much this $3 meant to Therese. I think of everyone I hear saying they can't afford to give as much--or at all--this year. For many that is certainly true. But again, here's Therese. No, perhaps she couldn't afford to give $20, $25, $100. Maybe she couldn't even afford to give $5. But she gave $3, possibly her only money leftover after paying bills and buying food--or maybe she even gave it knowing it'd be $3 she really couldn't afford. We can imagine it's her mite, all she had.

Alone, that $3 doesn't do much for all the families in need this Christmas. But in the city of Nashua, NH, where the paper is based, there are (as of the 2000 Census) 86,605. 68,507 are 15 or older. Imagine if they each gave $3: that would add up to $205,521. Let's even say only half of those people contributed $3. We'd still have $102,760.50 to help get kids things they need, and some things they just want, for Christmas. And that's just one small city!

So I offer that perhaps when we see an article in the paper, or receive a request for donation to a worthy cause, that before we quickly reply, "Oh, I wish I could, but..." we consider Therese Currier and her $3. We don't have to give big (although hey, if you've got some money hanging around, go ahead and be generous). Jesus--and Therese--remind us that is the act of giving that matters. And like so much else, small actions made by many people can create a big effect.

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1 comment:

  1. I am sending out letters asking for people to help me go on the poverty immersion trip. This is encouraging. I hope the recipients really understand that whatever they give is greatly appreciated. I'll take the mite!