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I Found My Christmas Spirit…In a Backpack!

Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 1:30AM

After an early storm wiped out our Thanksgiving holiday, I wasn’t really excited about Christmas. Tina took care of most of the shopping while I’ve been doing radio interviews and trying to finish a new Vision Board training to be released in early 2015.

A couple weeks ago, we dedicated our BeachBum Philanthropy giving mission to gather some items for a local shelter which helps homeless veterans. What they needed most were backpacks. When we began to ask around via social media, our friends (and their friends) stepped up, BIG TIME.

This past Saturday was a bit overwhelming as I began to poke through all the boxes and bags which we’d received over the previous week. I knew we had 20 backpacks which had been donated, and I knew we had a ton of small toiletry items, snacks, can openers, blankets and warm clothing. All we had to do was separate it, bag it, tag it and stack it.

As tired as I was of hearing the endless repetition of holiday songs (remember, I’ve been a professional DJ for 21 years), I made a playlist of my personal Christmas favorites prior to my mom Evie, stepdad Hank and stepmom Aline arriving to help assemble the packs.

 

Over the course of the next 2 hours, just like the Grinch, my heart grew 2 sizes. Not that I was grouchy or grumpy prior to that. I guess I just wasn’t as focused on the true meaning of Christmas as I could have been.

As we rationed out the toiletries, snacks, hand-crank can openers (a popular request to help the homeless), blankets and winter hats, it struck us all just how lucky we are.

I’ve never had to worry about such simple things. I’ve always had a warm place to sleep. I’ve never had to miss a meal. I’ve always had a thermostat or at least a woodstove to keep me warm.

All 20 backpacks were delivered to Liberty House on Monday, just a few days prior to Christmas. For me, that day will BE Christmas.

I am still getting together with my family 4 times between the 24thand 26th, eating a ton of food, exchanging gifts, etc. But that will be the dessert. The real celebration of Christmas happened this past weekend.

It was full of joy, time with loved ones, a giving spirit and, as is sometimes associated with fine Asian cuisine…an hour later I wanted more.

We decided that we are going to do things like this as a family again soon.

It was awesome. I highly recommend it.

We won’t see the faces of the people receiving these gifts.

We won’t know their names.

And they won’t know ours.

When the shelter managers asked where the items came from, I just told them: “I have some pretty cool friends, we call ourselves The BeachBums.”

If you are reading this, I consider YOU one of those friends.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for another year of growth in giving.

It’s been a heck of a ride so far…and we’re just getting started!

Merry Christmas, my friends!

- Steve Gamlin 


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