The gift of receiving

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Editor’s note: Between Dec. 17 and Dec. 27, The Chatham Voice is proud to share the 10 Stories of Giving. Each day, we follow a different story of Chatham-Kent giving, courtesy of The Gift.

“My dad has helped so many people since the beginning of COVID-19, while not receiving any help himself. When I heard he would be, I was very happy for him. Since he spent all his time helping with the community, I don’t think anyone knew he needed help. We knew he wouldn’t ask, so we just went for it. And I’m glad we did; he was very excited and grateful. He even said that this was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for him,” the recipient’s daughter said.

The gift of receiving

This is a letter of thanks to my daughter, her mother and the residents of Chatham-Kent.
When I placed the non-perishable items on my doorstep on May 16, it never crossed my mind that six months later, I would be the one receiving a donation.

One night a few weeks ago I received a phone call from the co-parent of my only child who saw something in me I hadn’t yet recognized myself – I needed a hand this year. She broached the topic gently, “I was wondering if maybe you would accept some help?”

It took a moment to hear what she was saying, but when I processed her offer, it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

“Yes, I think maybe I should,” I replied.

I was a little bit choked up when she first offered the help, but as soon as I hung up, I started to cry.
This was the first time in my adult life where I’ve been unemployed for any real stretch of time. It is the first time I’ve ever needed EI and very recently that support ran out.

The happiness I felt when she explained she and my daughter had visited The Gift “Share Shop” and picked up a few items for me at no cost to them absolutely filled my heart. The gratitude I felt when I realized this was a group effort and so many different people from our community had a hand in helping me was so immense that when I think about it now, I just smile.
I hung up the phone and thought about the effort she put into making sure I was going to have a beautiful Christmas this year. How that offer to help was the most thoughtful gift I had ever received. I thought about how incredible it is that I live in a community that had a system in place this year to help people like me, during a time that’s been so tough for so many.
When she dropped off the food and items, she explained that she had also reached out to a close friend of mine and she and her husband also wanted to help by giving me some gift cards – I was overwhelmed. After she left, I went through the gifts in the box – I could feel the love from every single item that had been donated and it felt like the entire community was looking after me.
This year has been very hard for a lot of reasons, but I will always remember it as the year Chatham-Kent came together to try and make sure everyone was taken care of. That no one was left behind.
Thank you to my daughter and to her mother for helping me when I needed it most and thank you to the residents of Chatham-Kent for making it possible. I will never forget the most thoughtful and meaningful gift I’ve ever received.
“When we heard the incredible stories coming out of Chatham-Kent during such a trying year, we wanted to make sure the community also got to hear all the amazing things they had done by working together. We are proud to live and work in Chatham-Kent; a community where neighbours always help neighbours.” – Ken and Lucy from Bokor Manufacturing Inc.

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