Bon Secours Ministry Volunteers are invited to reflect on the many ways that they can bring “tidings of comfort and joy” to their neighbors. In this short and sweet blog post, Shannon Curran, Director of Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry, recalls one specific way that a former volunteer (Alicia Manteiga, BSVM 08-09) and her community accepted this invitation to share their joy:
In addition to breaking bread with her neighbors, Alicia led her community of volunteers in the effort of gifting one of her students, who was also a neighbor of the BSVM volunteer community, with a Christmas tree. After learning that this student’s family had never had a Christmas tree, Alicia asked if she and her fellow volunteers could give away the BSVM Christmas tree. While Alicia’s initial response to this need was an act of compassion, the way that she gave this tree to her student’s family was one of even deeper compassion. Alicia ensured that her whole community of volunteers was involved in surprising their young neighbor with a Christmas tree on her stoop just as she stepped off the bus after school. The effort that went into delivering this as a delightful gift rather than a donated hand-out made this a true act of Christian service.
The Christmas Tree incident was really a ton of fun. I sometimes chaperoned students at the bus stop (think “herding cats”) until their parents picked them up. As we neared the BSVM house on tree-drop day (conveniently, also the bus stop location), I called my roommates, who ran and dropped off the tree with a note, and then ran and hid and watched to make sure she received the tree and note. Evidently, she looked confused, then stopped, read the note, then jumped up and down. I couldn’t watch, because that would have blown our cover. It’s not often that I have had the ability to surprise a child with exactly what s/he wants, so I treasure that memory.