Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

If you have much, give of your wealth. If you have little, give of your heart. -Arab Proverb

To some, the bond of family and friends strengthens. To others, festivities are times for celebrating spiritual beliefs and customs. And to those who’ve recently lost all their worldly possessions in the devastating fires, there is a sense of great loss, and perhaps also enormous opportunity.

As we’ve witnessed, all are vulnerable when unexpected disaster strikes; rich or poor, old or young, orange or purple.

Whether personally affected by it or an attentive sideline observer, tragedy compels us to take stock in what really matters: human compassion, generosity, and the unconditional love of family, friends, and perhaps most amazingly, strangers.

Every tragedy brings a gift, one that unlocks the heart. The precious gift of giving is a way of strengthening bonds that connect us as a community.

When at Whole Foods Market in Hillcrest (WFM), why not purchase a few extra non-perishable canned items and drop them in the red barrel? Or add a dollar or two to your grocery bill to help give shelter, food, and counseling to fire victims? And don’t forget about our furry friends; WFM is facilitating financial assistance to care for victims’ pets.

Or, perhaps make a trip to Horton Plaza’s Concierge Center and donate money to grant the dearest wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions?

I invite…What gifts will you give?

Each person gives differently, but all gifts are precious offerings. Whether it’s a present of food, time, or simply a sunny smile, we may never know how much value it might bring to the receiver.

Within hours, residents of The Grande North quickly sheltered over 150 fire evacuees. The Board passed a resolution turning their community lounge into a sleeping quarter. Susan Smith, affectionately known as Club Suzi, sprang into action. Residents kindly responded by donating air mattresses, blankets, pillows, spare bedrooms, parking spaces, and entire unoccupied units. Once sheltered, they were next treated to a potluck dinner. Club Suzi is extremely proud of her community.

Residents of Park Place can drop off unwrapped toys and gift cards into a playpen located in their lobby. Mary Schlesing has graciously organized the toy collection so less fortunate children will have a special holiday.

Continuing with their holiday tradition, residents of Horizons are collecting new, unwrapped gifts for children of all ages living in foster care. Stan Marder finds his neighbors big hearted.

Every little bit makes a large difference in the life of someone who has so little. This holiday season if you have much, give generously. If you have little, give the gift of your smile. May your holiday season be filled with heartwarming moments. -December 2007

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