Why It Is Not Enough To Just Be Grateful

To: Those who are blessed this holiday season

From: Alex, "Big Lip" Chisholm (As told to Lauren Brill)

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To those who are blessed this holiday season,

No matter who you are, this year you have probably endured some sort of struggle. Whether it’s finances, loss of loved ones, virtual learning, or feeling isolated, alone and separated from family, the pandemic, just like the illness itself, has hit different people in various ways. Even so, we must remember so many of us still have much to be thankful for and this year, more than ever, it’s crucial that we show our gratitude.

Every year I try to help families during Christmas time because I know what it feels like to struggle. In 2008, I lost my job and I was on food stamps. I went from being very financial independent to having just three or four hundred dollars to my name.  Embarrassed and feeling like a failure, I didn’t want to tell anyone. Christmas that year was very tough. I wanted to give my kids everything on their wish list, but I didn’t have the money.

That’s when I made a promise to God. I promised if I ever got back on my feet and got ahead of the game again, I would always look out for other people. In the following years, I did bounce back. And now, 12 years later, I am continuing to fulfill that promise.

I promised if I ever got back on my feet and got ahead of the game again, I would always look out for other people.

However, this year is different from previous years. On social media, I asked for people to nominate families who are going through a hard time. Very few people nominated other families. Instead, they asked for help.

One young lady reached out to me and told me she and her husband both lost their jobs. They have six kids and they’re living out of a hotel. For their children, it will be the first Christmas they won’t spend in their home. While I don’t have the funds to buy them an apartment, I will spend a few hundred dollars to make sure they have gifts on Christmas morning.

Another young man contacted me. He is 19 years old. He and his mother have been living out of a car for the last year. They need help and I am trying to see how we can make life a little easier for them.

Alex is a radio DJ for Hot 105 in Miami

Also, there is a woman in Fort Lauderdale who every year collects and gives hundreds of toys to kids and turkeys to families.  This year when I called her, she shared with me that she can’t make ends meet. She has 13 people living in her home, five of whom are her grandchildren who recently lost their mother. She has cars in her driveway that don’t run. And although she is struggling to provide for her family, she is still operating her charity and doing for others.

For her, I called offleaseonly.com and told them her story. Immediately, they wanted to help. They are surprising her with a free dodge caravan and including six months of insurance.

While life is tough for many of us, we must remember that many people are in much more difficult situations.  We can’t forget to be grateful. It’s easy to find reasons to complain. I drive a nice car. I live in a nice house and my kids are healthy. Yet, I still complain sometimes and I have to stop myself.

If you are a person who grew up poor and you are doing well, please never forget where you came from and how you once felt. If you have always had means, I challenge you to see what it’s like on the other side.  So often, we live our lives in a little box.

This holiday season, some families won’t have any gifts for their children.

They are dreading Christmas day when their kids log on to social media and see all the presents their friends received while there was so little under the tree for them.

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Even just a small gesture can bring happiness to another family.

And when you touch somebody,  you don’t know how far that touch goes. You don’t know how much it means to someone or the kindness it will inspire.

So, whether you have a lot or even a little to be grateful for this holiday season, I genuinely hope you show your gratitude. And there is no better way to show appreciation for all that you have than to help those who are without.

Happy Holidays!

Alex, "Big Lip" Chisholm
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