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I was sorting through a stack of papers while putting a grant package in order when I saw the little envelope someone left on my desk. It was a window envelope for returning a bill payment and on the outside corner, someone had written “to Mission Granbury” in pencil. I pulled out and unfolded the piece of notebook paper and began to read the handwritten letter.

The writer introduced herself and her husband and said she just wanted to thank Mission Granbury. “We recently found ourselves in trouble, in need of food, medicine and support. We found Mission Granbury and feel as if we found friends as well as the help we needed. My husband retired recently and that cut our income in half. We could no longer afford my medication or food. We came here seeking help and found it.”

The next afternoon, a young couple came in asking for food and clothing. They were pregnant and trying to get out on their own. He was working but it took all his last paycheck to get into the apartment. They literally had nothing else. The case manager helped them with food, clothing, a few kitchen items, and even found them a small sofa. When she realized what she was taking home, the young girl burst into tears.

A few mornings later, an email came in through our website from a woman who recently left the Shelter. She wanted whoever checked the email to let the ladies at the Shelter know how much she appreciated everything they did for her while she was a resident. “I know I only stayed for two weeks but the things I got accomplished in this time are unbelievable - but really happened! You are all amazing, thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

These tiny glimpses of gratitude are monumental, life changing moments for those we help. And when I say we - I mean all of us - you, me, every volunteer and every Mission Granbury staff who puts their whole heart into offering an arm to the stumbling and a lift to the fallen. These glimpses completely make my day.

The Season of Joy is just around the corner. Thanksgiving is close enough to smell the pies baking and the twinkling lights of Christmas are already starting to go up downtown. We’re planning family dinners and parties with friends – and children are making lists they will change ten times before Christmas morning. There will be mounds of wrapping paper, dozens of electronic device gifts and plenty of super hero toys under many of our trees.

But many will have no tree, no gifts and very little food. Some have no home. Some are families with children but many are not; the disabled veteran who lives alone, the elderly grandmother who can no longer drive and lives on social security and food stamps, the homeless teenager who wanders from couch to couch trying to avoid the violence at home. These are the stranded who often get overlooked during the Holidays.

As we prepare for the Season of Joy, I hope you will make it a Season of Joyful Giving. Give to your favorite children’s charity so they can make a child’s dreams come true, decorate a tree for a shut in, invite someone to your family dinner so they won’t be alone. Step into their lives and make a difference. Be the arm that helps the stumbling and the hand that lifts the fallen and watch for those tiny glimpses of gratitude. It will make your day.

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