Tonawanda News


December 19, 2013

KEPPELER: The power to make someone happy

Tonawanda News — Two days after I witnessed, for the first time, the festival of generosity and holiday spirit that is the culmination of the Tonawandas’ annual Rockin’ With Santa campaign, we got a call at the office.

Community editor Barbara Tucker took it, then referred it to me. On the other end of the line was Major Celestin Nkounkou of the local Salvation Army, and I swear I could hear the distress in his voice.

Salvation Army personnel had taken a truck to pick up an expected donation of toys, he said, only to find out that the agency donating those toys hadn’t realized they were coming. All the donations were gone. And there were only five days until distribution, when the Salvation Amy will give families in need an extra holiday helping hand of food, clothing — and toys.

There are families with children who might not get Christmas gifts now, Nkounkou said. Could the people of the Tonawandas perhaps see what they could do to help?

When the story link was posted on Facebook, most of the reaction was as I expected. Positive and generous and capable of renewing my personal faith in humanity. But then, of course, someone just had to type out those oh-so-merry, festive words: “Get a job.”

OK. Let’s ignore, for the moment, that there are lots of reasons someone could be out of work in this economy. Let’s ignore the fact that jobs do not precisely grow on trees these days. And the fact is, plenty of people who have a job today still have to worry about things such as, oh, I don’t know, putting basic food on the table and paying their heating bills before they can try to eke out a little extra for Christmas gifts.

Let’s put all that aside.

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