Reaching Out

By Leslie Parks - Sunday, December 28, 2014

I walk in the gym and look around. It's quiet with a few people hunched over tables. The back of the gym is piled high with boxes, floor to ceiling. The food is stacked deep around the edges. The large plastic bags are filled with clothes and toys and needed items like diapers.  I walk over to someone and ask about the procedure for the year.  Wrap the present, make sure the name, family number and individual number is on the outside of the present. I turn to the kids and say "Ok, let's get to work." We start wrapping, the boys are less than enthused. I give them the job of collecting wrapped presents from the volunteer wrappers.  More people start to file in and look around for direction.  No one seems to be jumping up and giving any so I walk over and ask if they've come to wrap presents.
 "Have you done this before?"
Then I go through where to find the supplies and what to do.  More people come in and again, I go through the spiel. Slowly they start to talk and there is a hum of voices and the

rustling of paper fills the void in the gym. I wait for someone in charge to show up but they are still shopping for presents for us to wrap.  It's a mad dash to get these wrapped in one day.  The piles of toys and clothes start to build and I realize that the family numbers aren't on the floor. I rip out pages of Job's school notebook and madly write numbers on them while the boys tape them to the floor.  I'm up to 200 and I'm told that I need 235.  I keep writing.  Finally I've written all the numbers and they are taped down. Now all those presents that are being wrapped can be sorted into their family groups which the boys are doing. Some one comes up and says they can't find any information on the gift, what should they do? I don't know, but I smile and take the present to set aside hoping to find the information on the master list.  I look up and every table is filled with one to two people wrapping presents.  The boys are walking around like crazy with presents in their arms and I think of them as little or actually not so little elves in Santa's workshop.  I look at my watch and realize that it's four o'clock.  We've been wrapping and sorting for almost 4 hours and we have other commitments. Time to go and it's almost finished.

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