This blog is a little different in that I have basically just pasted an answer from the column Ask Amy. It is a blog written by advice columnist Amy Dickenson. In a recent column, she answered a person who advised her that times were so tough that they would appreciate just receiving money or grocery gift cards instead of gifts or care packages.
The person asking the question did not want to offend gift givers, but she also wanted to know how to best express herself because of her need. This column and question reminded me of the difficulties that many go through during this holiday season.
In my law practice, a day does not go by where a client expresses how difficult it is right now. Sometimes they ask me just to settle their case for whatever I can because they just cannot wait. Of course, it bothers me greatly to see insurance companies take advantage of that.
With that in mind, I paste the following. An answer that made me think.
DEAR OVERLY-GIFTED: Your situation highlights the ongoing problem of hunger in this country. According to the anti-poverty group Feeding America, in 2011, 4.8 million seniors (over age 60) were food insecure. The organization reports that in your home state of New York, 1 in 7 people don’t have enough to eat.
I hope you are doing everything possible to find sources of healthy food in your community. The Feeding America website (feedingamerica.org) has a pull-down menu listing state-by-state food resources. Many local churches host weekly food giveaways where you can pick up staples. A social worker can work with you to qualify for other benefits, including heating assistance, or help with your medications.
In terms of your generous friends, I think you should express your gratitude, and also do what you can to direct their giving in ways that will be more useful to you.
You can express to them, “Every year you are generous and send me a ‘care package’ at Christmastime. I appreciate it so much. This year, I’m hoping to receive gifts that will help tide me over during the very lean times. I’d really appreciate a grocery gift card or help with my utility bill during these cold months. Regardless of what you choose to do, I know the winter will be less cold, due to your kindness.
And for pic o’ day, I am posting another “on Santa’s lap”.