I wanted to share a photo of the Mansion's overflowing Xmas cart, a rolling collection of just some of the Christmas gifts and favors and ideas coming in from the Army of Good. There are wreaths, hand-crafted mittens, personalized by name Christmas gifts, some cookies and flowers and candy canes, filled stockings, pins, ribbons, hats and boxes of stocking suffers – so many some are being saved for other holidays and events.
Everybody has something for them under the tree, the decals and decorations are amazing and beautiful. The Army of Good formed about a year ago now, it began with the new refugees arriving in the Northeast and spread quickly to the Mansion. The Army of Good has been there all year, but it shines at Christmas and other holidays.
Holidays can be very hard and painful times at places like the Mansion, on those days memories of holidays past and life with families is sharp. Maria and i will be at the Mansion Christmas day to say hello and visit.
Many of the residents no longer have anyone to visit or write them. You have transformed that reality, there is much excitement about the holidays now, and people feel remembered and noticed and cared for.
Whenever I think of the news, I think about doing good, it is a tonic and an antidote and keeps me grounded and fulfilled. A proactive not a reactive life. The news will not determine my outlook on the world, that comes from me, and can be taken by no one.
If you are anxious or despairing today, check out this video of a young man saving a baby rabbit from a raging wildfire in California. It may restore your faith in humanity. You can also send a Christmas letter or card to a Mansion resident.
These are the names of the residents who wish to receive your letters: Winnie, Jean, Ellen, Mary, Sylvie, Jane, Diane, Alice, Jean, Maddie, Joan, Allan, Bill, Richard, John Helen, Bob, Alanna, Barbara, Peggie, Dottie, Tim, Ben, Art, Guerda, Brenda, David, Ken, Ruth.
You can write them at The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816. If you wish to do more good, you can donate to the Mansion/Refugee Fund, it is down to $1,100, and much of that is earmarked for planned outings – carriage rides, ice skating, pizza New Year's celebrations, clothes. You can send a check to Jon Katz, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816 or donate via Paypal, email@example.com.
(I had his brainstorm this morning of buying indoor plants for the residents along with safe desk-clamped plant lights, so they can grow living and beautiful things in their rooms or along the hallway. I think it would be a beautiful idea for the winter. I will explore it with the Mansion staff and research it online. More to come.)
We are forming a Circle, connecting to one another in a beautiful and for me, inspiring way. Thanks. We are all connected to one another in this work.
Thanks again for brightening the lives of people who are often left behind and feel forgotten. You are angels. Doing good is better than arguing about what good is.