Everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace.
– Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Gavin Brown’s fourth birthday party in Cranford, New Jersey, was missing one thing, according to a New York Times article. There was a birthday cake, guests and the usual chaos. But there were no birthday presents. “The only gift in sight was a little red Matchbook hook and ladder rig,” the story said. “All the bounty from Gavin’s birthday – $240 in checks and cash collected in a box next to a plastic fire helmet – went to the Cranford Fire Department.”
Gavin wanted the firefighters “to buy new fire trucks, more equipment and more food.” In return, Gavin got to try on a captain’s helmet and take a tour of the pumper truck at the fire station.
For every story about the world becoming colder and less caring, there are a thousand about people who’ve found ways to give from the heart, in their own manner and through their own talents. It’s how they light one candle rather than cursing the darkness. Gift-free birthday parties – like Gavin Brown’s – are a great example of how to do just that.
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