This is the match we strike in the darkness

Pastor Eric Cho, left, greets a migrant family as they arrive at the Toy Giveaway Party.

If you need an antidote to the bad news being endlessly reported since last Friday’s horror of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., please keep reading. You just have to look to the incredible generosity and care being demonstrated this very moment in our own Gilroy community.  

It’s not often that I write a follow-up to a story that I have already covered in a previous column. But last Thursday an angel named Bob came down to the Gilroy United Methodist Church and donated three big bags of brand new toys for the Migrant Toy Giveaway Christmas Event that took place Thursday to benefit children in need.

Bob had read my Dec. 7 column about the Toy Giveaway Event planned in Gilroy for children of migrant families, some of the most low-income families in Gilroy. As he was leaving, he turned and asked if there was anything else other than the toys that we could use.

Since he was asking, I took a chance and said, “It may sound odd, but it would be really helpful to have small bottles of water for the children.”

Within half an hour, Bob was back with five cases of water!

When I posted a mention of this stranger’s generosity on Facebook, a reader enthusiastically posted this message back: “Way to go, Angel Bob!”

Our initial hope was to inspire a total donation of 30 more toys beyond the 50 promised to us by the Univision Radio Station. I began posting a toy countdown of our goal over the past several days.

The first indication I had of what was to come was when a woman named Marilyn called after reading my previous column and said she wanted to be a part of the effort in some way. However, she had broken her hip and would not be able to come down and volunteer the way she’d like. I thought perhaps she might want to donate a toy. 

When I met Marilyn and her husband, they told me about recently retiring to Gilroy from Morgan Hill. 

“We love it here,” Marilyn said. “We have the best neighbors, so kind and caring. We all help each other.”

You should have seen the look of surprise on my face when she handed me a check for $200! Now we could provide an entire meal for everyone present at the party!   

Other donations began to come in each day. Toys appeared on my doorstep. Then another message arrived from an angel named Alice from Products Plus, Inc., a local wholesale distributor of consumer electronic products.

After responding to Alice and letting her know the Toy Giveaway had not yet taken place, she wrote back.

“Dear Kat, it brings great joy to my heart that we have not missed the date,” said Alice. “We have lots of toys to contribute to your Migrant Toy Drive.”

Thanks to the generosity of our community and the way you truly care, the Migrant Toy Drive is a great benefit to these families who work so hard but have so little. They received blankets, jackets, food, toys and love.

Thursday was filled with joyous smiles of anticipation, the aroma of chocolate chip cookies, the sound of Santa ringing his bell as he arrives and palpable excitement in the air for children from ages 1 to 17.

The wonderful response of our community and the very thought of the happiness of these children has given me all the gift I could need for a very merry Christmas this year.

We have now more than surpassed our goal of 80 toys. In fact, we have enough toys to continue on into the new year and help many more children.

This is the power of the press for good; this is the power of word-of-mouth news; and this is the power of the connections we have with each other. Most of all, this is the power of good to overcome evil in the world, the power of justice to overcome injustice, the power of generosity to overcome inequity. As horrible as the news has been lately, this is the good that we hang onto; this is the match we strike in the darkness.

This is the collective light that will always burn brighter than the actions of any disturbed individuals.

And no matter what the circumstances, this is how we keep the faith.   

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