The old saw that, "Everyone talks about the
weather, but nobody does anything about it," is particularly true this February.
It is almost impossible to see a news broadcast which doesn't have a storm as
the lead story. The visuals change little from year to year: a thermometer blown
out at the bottom, icicles hanging from power lines, cars stranded in the snow.
Often, there is film of children riding snowboards, celebrating a day off
There are also pictures which are not seen: people around a small fire in a
trash can, families huddled together in the automobile which is their home, the
corpses wrapped in tattered blankets of those found dead from hypothermia.
Although I watch a great many national newscasts, it's possible that I've missed
stories about the homeless. However, there couldn't have been many, or surely
one would have crossed my eyes.
Oh, there were plenty between Thanksgiving and New Years, mostly showing folks
so hungry for a free meal that they were unable to protest being a spectacle for
the cameras. The most merciless show the faces of children receiving coats and
school supplies, with no care for the ridicule they may face from classmates the
What you might call the "Holidays of Charity" are over for the year. It is now
time for the "Holiday of Love"; Valentines Day. Everywhere, there are messages
about candy, flowers, and lingerie too flimsy to keep anyone warm on a Winter's
night. Folks who are buying gifts and cards for sweethearts know their love is
special and somehow make the world a better place.
How can a love which is selfish heal the world? Is it possible for people
commanded to have Tzedakah as a value, yet not gag on a box of candy, the
price of which might have bought dinner for a family in need? Does an Eishes
Chayil want a lacy robe, when the same money could have bought blankets for
those who are cold?
I say no, and am going to suggest a Valentines gift which can make our
communities better places. This is something I do each Winter, and believe is a
true demonstration of love. Go to your local thrift store and buy all the coats,
sweaters, and blankets you can afford. Put them on the street or next to your
trash, and they will disappear.
You will never know where these gifts go, only that they have been useful to
someone who needed them. People who glean cozy things from curbs and ash cans
need help. Let your dear ones know that you wanted to share the caring in your
heart when you think of them.
The weather may be cold, but your spirits will be warmed. There is nothing more
a Valentine could want.
Copyright 2011 Eddy Robey