Last December, we did a fundraiser for AVSI-USA in Boston. This idea was born from two desires that met: mine and that of my friend Cinzia. I used to fundraise for AVSI in college during the Advent season and it was always a beautiful and concrete experience of charity. Since I moved to Boston 7 years ago, I always had the desire to do a fundraiser here, but even if the desire was there, for one reason of another, nothing ever came of it. Then this year: surprise!
While chatting with Cinzia over dinner in November, she mentioned that her daughter, Sofia, and her friend Francesca like to participate in Christmas craft fairs and that both girls are amazing at arts and crafts. However, Cinzia’s desire was to experience something greater than simply making money for herself. As Cinzia spoke, her whole face lit up with expectation, and it became obvious to me that this was an answer to my desire and my waiting. The Mystery doesn’t give us things when we want them, but when the time is right. It was a beautiful reminder to trust that He takes care of us, always.
I immediately told Cinzia about AVSI and in just five days a group of 8 ladies (Cinzia, Sofia, Francesca, Sabrina, Maria, Christianne, Rachel and myself) got together to understand the AVSI-USA campaign for this year, decide what to make, when to do it, etc. We decided to make bars of soap and origami Nativity sets as they could be good Christmas gifts. We met a few times to work together on making everything. We sold the items after Masses at Saint Clement Church in Medford, MA with the help of other friends. We didn’t do anything particularly grand, but we did care about making the stand beautiful thinking that if Baby Jesus would come to visit my stand, I would want Him to find something beautiful!
We managed to sell everything and we raised a lot of money!
Apart from the great outcome in terms of donations, all of us who participated were filled with joy. We decided to get together to do this work, not individually, but together. I am not good with arts and crafts (especially origami!), but being with these friends, looking at their attentive faces while doing a beautiful and detailed work, helped me to realize that charity is not just “doing the fundraising” to get money, but charity is already in doing what we do, beautifully. Charity is taking care of the details, whether it is while making origami or soap or even at my job. It is being aware, like in a prayer, of the Mystery who makes all things alive and loves us just as he loves the people for whom we were fundraising. Joy can be experienced in that precise moment, with your small group of friends, through your colleagues at work, while waiting for Christmas, the coming of our Lord in the flesh.