Helping those in need rewarding
There I met Bob Grostick and Pam Palmieri, who talked to me about the various work to be done that day. Bob was leading a crew of seven to 10 volunteers at a home on
The first home I visited was on
The homeowner, who friends said has been deaf since childhood and cannot speak, touched my heart as he helped volunteers haul away trash and do whatever he could to help those who were there to help him
I was touched by his story and felt compelled to share it with readers, who , I hoped would be inspired to help Christmas in Action after reading his story. The story is posted online and will be in the May 1 edition of The Saline Reporter and The Milan News-Leader. About 20 people were at his home Saturday, and Ross estimated that labor and materials would have cost Carlos $11,500 if it weren’t for the help from Christmas in Action. Carlos’ friend, Arbutus Bickerstaff, said he wouldn’t have been able to afford to hire someone to do the work since losing his job last fall. She said his father and brother have been helping him stay afloat financially for the last several months.
Bickerstaff said it best: "I think it reaches out to people in need of help," she said of Christmas in Action. "It lifts their spirits. It makes them realize there are still good, kind people out there who care about you.”
Indeed. I've seen the program flourish in other communities and put smiles on the faces of many people who were in need of a helping hand. In Dexter, every year, at least 200 volunteers would help spruce up a dozen homes or more. I was always touched by each homeowner's story and so grateful they were willing to share it so readers could understand their plight and importance of the help the program provided. This, in turn, often brought in more donations, from readers and local businesses, helping the program grow every year.
“It’s harder to receive than it is to give,” Ann Esterbrook told me as volunteers washed windows and spruced up her yard on
Esterbrook, who had worked 30 years in food service, retiring from Saline schools in 1999, has health problems, as does her husband, Don. They have spent their retirement giving back to their church, St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline, as well as
And the homeowners who were referred to the program weren't the only ones who benefited today. The volunteers feel a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in helping others. “It’s just nice to help people who have been givers their whole lives,” said Christmas in Action volunteer Jack Winchester, who was serving as house captain at the Esterbrook home.
If you haven't been part of this amazing organization as a volunteer, I urge you to support it financially or next year as a volunteer. For more information about the Saline group, visit the Web site www.christmasinactionsaline.com.