On Saturday, I was reminded of just how much I have to be thankful for. My life would be so different without a peaceful home, personal safety, or a loving family. Domestic violence destroys each of those things. This past weekend, Windrose had a chance to extend love to families fleeing abuse.
On November 26th, a team of 12 young leaders from Windrose DFW prepared and served brunch to 25 clients at one of the Tarrant County SafeHaven shelters. The mission of SafeHaven is to end domestic violence through safety, support, prevention and social change. Their shelters serve as a refuge for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Although the shelter location is kept under wraps, it’s no secret that one in three women in Tarrant County, TX (Fort Worth) are affected by domestic violence, and many are at risk of becoming a homicide victim.
Sadly, the danger is real, and as a community we must stop it! Serving a hot meal at the shelter was our way of honoring these women and proclaiming boldly, “No more. Not in my town, my city, my county, my state. No more.”
Starting early in the morning, volunteers arrived to prep the ingredients and work in the kitchen at the Amaral home. Shoulder to shoulder in the kitchen, we diced onions, chopped peppers, mixed muffins, layered casseroles, rolled kolaches, and cut fresh pineapple. With carols playing in the background, we talked about our Christmas traditions and bonded as we carefully prepared breakfast casseroles.
We loaded up the hot food, and then traveled to the shelter, so that we could serve the meal to eager kids and their moms waiting there. You could see the curiosity in their tired faces. We stood behind the counter and prepared plates cafeteria style. The kids peered at us with wide eyes, while the moms wondered why we came. For the kids, we provided a nourishing meal followed by lots of laughter thanks to a ton of selfies after the meal.
For the moms, we provided a short reprieve from their stressful situation. Each had experienced fear, pain, and loneliness beyond what I could imagine. We could not take away their pain, but we could show them that care. We took time out of our day to invest in theirs. We blessed them by doing two simple things: serving a meal and loving on their kids.
I am so proud of this Windrose Philanthropy team for their selfless gift to these broken families. Our team woke up early and sacrificed part of their holiday weekend to invest in the lives of those who are dealing with physical abuse and emotional trauma. So 6 a.m. may have felt very early on a holiday weekend, but it was so worth it! We brought energy and hope to these families.
You may not know this, but today is #GivingTuesday. If you feel like you have little money to spare, you may feel like the hype about today is simply not for you. You may be thinking, “I’ll get around to it when I’m older or when I have more to give.” But don’t give in to this temptation! That attitude is an excuse to procrastinate. Giving starts with an attitude, a heart of service and care. We always have something to give. Besides, if we wait to give until we are older and “have enough to share,” we are really just indulging our inner Scrooge. Why should we expect our attitude to magically change when we get that dream job? It won’t. Giving exposes the attitude of the heart. That’s why we need to start now.
As young people, time is one of our most valuable gifts. That is why we host monthly philanthropy projects through the Windrose Project. We want to pour our time and energy into organizations that are solving local problems with local solutions. So when you clean up a park, pack a box of food, or serve a meal at a shelter with Windrose, you are making a difference. You are demonstrating that community matters and that you believe every life has inherent value and purpose. You are calling others join you and give too.
On this #GivingTuesday, think about how you can give of yourself to make a difference in your community. Giving of your time and your resources can make an enormous difference in the life of someone in need. So ask yourself today: Is there a shelter that you could visit in your area? Do you know someone in need?
If you’re asking how you can make a difference in your community during this holiday season, you can start by giving what you have. If you’re in Texas, you can also sign up for our next philanthropy project!