Stories of Kindness from Around the World

A Jar of Coins, a Loaf of Bread and Thou

--by Glorioski, posted Jan 30, 2010
One Year for Christmas, my brother Chris and and his wife Julie gave  each of us siblings a very thoughtful gift. Inspired by the book: "The Christmas Jar", by Jason F. Wright, they gave each sibling's family an empty quart size Mason Jar. A slot was cut in the plastic lid, and inside were a number of stickers and ribbons to decorate the jar with.
In the book: The Christmas Jar, Hope Jensen, in a moment of great grief and monetary loss, is anonymously gifted a small jar of Money. Moved, humbled, and transformed by this gift, her own faith in humanity is resurrected, as she searches for and ultimately finds the donors.
When we opened the package from my brother, inside, along with the jar and a copy of the book, was a note which read:
" In honor of the spirit of giving we were taught by Mama Rose and Papa Gene (The names our children call our parents), please decorate this jar, and over the course of this upcoming year, collect your spare change and donate it to the cause of your choice, in their name."
My parents have indeed, always been generous people. Their list of charities they support has grown as our families have grown, but what I remember more were the times when, moved by the  suffering and loss in our own back yard, they gave without hesitation. I have a vivid memory of a time, when My parents went to visit one of our former Parish priests in his new Parish in the inner city. During the mass, a man entered the back of the church, mumbling, and  disoriented, unclean and clearly intoxicated. He wore no shirt, but a suit jacket-worn backwards; the sleeves serving as pant legs. Apparently, it wasn't an uncommon occurrence, but to my folks it was. They left the Church, bought him some clothing, and got him a meal. I will never forget that.  On another occasion, I remember my mother gathering blankets and coats as we watched the house at the top of our street burn. I don't remember them telling us to be generous, necessarily, but I do remember them being it themselves. Actions always speak louder than words.
Clearly, the act of giving, in and of itself, has a cathartic quality. It just does. I know, that with every handful of change I dropped into that jar over the first year of this project, I felt good. I made it a point, in fact, I made it my intention, to place any change that came my way, into the jar. Change from the coffee I bought, change found in coat pockets and pants pockets, change left on the dresser or in my car's cup holder, change I found in the washer or the dryer. It all went into the jar. Two sticky quarters I spied on the floor between our seats at the Bruce Springsteen conccert: into the jar.
At the time, I was reading  "The Power of Intention", by Wayne Dyer, the premise of which is that YOU CREATE YOUR OWN REALITY, based on making it your intention to do so. It couldn't hurt to set an intention. I set my Intention: I intend to find lots of change.
The Jar was strategically placed on the counter juxtaposed between the back door and the laundry room. I begin to notice a direct correlation between the money I found, and the thoughts I was thinking. Often, there are only pennies. At times there are quarters and dimes. At the end of the first year, I was eager to see how much money I had saved, and took my kids to the local bank with the change counting machine, to await the news.
We had saved $75.70. We were quite pleased, because, although, there were coins of all denominations in the jar, there was also a small amount of space still left. We decided, that, rather than waiting until the jar was filled, We would cash the money in before Christmas, to donate as our family Holiday Gift. Earlier in the Week, I had seen an advertisement for our local food bank, Philabundance. It read: " 25 cents can provide one meal for a person in need".
That was all it took. I felt that 75$ could go a long way. So we got a cashier's check in exchange for our collected  change and we sent it off to Philabundance. We immediately began refilling the jar,  and during the next year, our change began to multiply - like a yeast expands bread dough. This time, the jar was so full, it could scarcely hold even a few more coins, and this time, the jar held $175.00. I am eager to see what this third year will bring, and although we are only 4 months in, it is growing nicely, as are the hopeful feelings I am gifted with whether I place a handful of coins or a few rogue pennies into the mix.
My parents tendency toward generosity begets our own. Once you've been the recipient of another's giving, or even just the bystander who observed it happen, you've been affected, not unlike the yeast which transforms the flour and water into a loaf of bread. And very much, like Hope Jensen, in the Story The Christmas Jar, we are moved, humbled and transformed from flour, water and yeast, into the Very Staff of Life.
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Readers Comments

glorioski wrote: Thank you all for your very kind comments. Every time i see stray change, it goes straight to the jar. I never quite know exactly where it will end up. What ever moves me at the moment. At the end of the year, before christmas, i give my kids one last chance to contribute. If they have a friend over, they get a chance too. Then we see how much. And i know for sure that i can do without whatever that jar full of coins amounts to.

All of your lovely comments have filled the jar of my heart :)
cpfjuly wrote: Thanks for that story. I have a youth group of about forty students. They are always looking for new ideas. I am going to show them your story. I know they will want to adopt your idea for giving back. I hope your life is filled with change. Thanks for giving back.
glorioski wrote: Cpfjuly--i am honored that you would share my story with kids. I hope your life is also filled with change :)
Gina wrote: Thanks for sharing and god bless!
iris wrote: I too keep as change jar but now like alexanicole i will give the money back and next christmas i know what the presants will be. Thank you so much and god bless
Nancy wrote: A very inspirational story. Thanks for sharing it.
shirleytiff wrote: What an inspiring story! I will use this in my spiritual aims presentation for my kiwanis club.
glorioski wrote: Thank you all for your uplifting comment. They are so very appreciated. Kindness does beget kindness. And shirley, i'd be honored if you shared this story with your kiwanis club. My best wishes to you all for your further inspiration.

hippichick1 wrote: This is a lovely idea for children x
alexanicole wrote: How lovely. You know i keep a change jar too and now i will use your idea and instead of keeping it for myself i will us it to give back. Thanks for the inspiring story.

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