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The special gift of family

By Mary Migliaro, Executive Director, North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network

Another Christmas has come and gone but there are memories that linger…One of my favorites is that of our Secret Santa. He visited our domestic violence shelter last year just to drop off a monetary donation for the residents in hopes that it would make their Christmas a little brighter. I accepted his cash donation and asked his name, but he would not give it to me. He said it wasn’t important. He just wanted to let the ladies know that someone cared about them and wanted them to have a Merry Christmas. We used that money to buy some special gifts for them in his honor.
Since it was my first Christmas at the agency, I imagined we would not see him again, but I was wrong. This year, he found us at our new outreach office in Blue Ridge and again, dropped off a very generous cash donation. Again, he would not leave his name but asked that the money be given to the residents, so they would have a better Christmas. We divided the cash equally among the residents, placing each donation in a Christmas card signed by the “Anonymous Secret Santa.” The looks of surprise on their faces as they opened the cards was priceless. I only hope that our Secret Santa can picture that sight.
I believe that our residents would trade everything in their possession to be with their families right now. Unfortunately, that is not possible due to circumstances beyond their control. Living in a shelter is safer–but being with a loving family would mean the world to them.
While gifts are wonderful, Christmas is all about one special family so very long ago and how one night changed the world. The universe received a very special gift on that night and taught us all the importance of family. We are all part of the family of man. As you celebrate the remaining days of this year, rejoice in your families and think of those who are away from their families. Gifts are precious, but the most precious of all is the gift of family.
Wishing each of you and your family joy and peace in the coming new year.

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