She mentioned that she had a regular customer who could not afford the $5 to cover the cost of the print for the santa photo taken at the shop where Mom works. (Mom told her to come pick up the pictures of her children with Santa.) She then talked to an uncle, who is a member of the Elks lodge out there and he hooked the woman up for a Breakfast With Santa event that the Elks put on for the needy each year. And my mom managed to find a way to get her children a few gifts and the Mom a gift card for groceries. My mom is a wizard with helping others.
Anyway... She also mentioned a tradition they had recently re-enacted to help another family with children, no job, and that are - essentially - losing their house before long. (There are so very many out there in this position this year.) They did a "Pounding" for the family last month, Mom said.
Silly visions of my family beating this other family up with stuffed socks flitted through my head.
"What is a 'pounding'?" I asked.
"Why has no one heard of this any more?!" was her rather exasperated reply. It turns out a Pounding was done for families with new babies, in new homes, or who were under extreme hardship to help them out. Other families - neighbors, friends, church families - got together to bring pounds of food for the family to help them out. Sometimes they brought food, sometimes other things to help out - but essentially, communities got together to help those in need.
Mom talked about my sister-in-law going to get a name from the giving tree, and finding them all taken. Blessings. They are all around us - being given and received. But that is a question that stuck with me.
Why has no one heard of this any more? Well, my guess is that we haven't heard of it because we don't do it as much any more. I think part of that stems from so many government groups who have stepped in where churches and communities used to help out. I suspect that as we move further into government debt, these sorts of community outreach ideas will see a resurgence - and, frankly, I am hopeful that it will. I would love to see communities draw back together in times of hardship and support one another - I think it will help us all to remember/realize that we all need help sometimes and that needing help, asking for help and receiving help are not shameful. Giving help is a blessing to all as well.
God bless us - and help us to bless others - as we are on our final few days before Christmas Day of 2010!