Today is Give to the Max Day, and also an early peak in our Holiday Helpings campaign! So we would like to share some of our favorite Holiday Helpings stories with you. See below for a sad, sweet story about one of our dearly departed friends, Donna. If you like this story, spread the word — and ask people to support our Holiday Helpings campaign and Give to the Max page.

Donna was a Bread for the City client for many years. Donna suffered from debilitating mental illness that made it impossible for her to manage her own finances. Bread for the City served as her “representative payee”—which means that we received her Social Security benefits, and paid her rent and bills.

Donna was also a patient in our medical clinic. “Bread for the City saved my life, and more than once!” she told us all the time.

Over the years, in our care, Donna’s health gradually improved. And eventually, with our coaching, Donna was able to even start managing her own budget again. Through that process, we helped Donna find a home of her very own.

“It’s been so long since I had my own apartment,” Donna said at the time. “The first thing I did after I moved in was take a bubble bath. I can’t believe I have a bathtub!”

Being on her own was a new experience for Donna. She felt very alone at first. “But Holiday Helpings made a difference,” she told us last year.

“I brought home that giant turkey and I put it on the counter with everything else and thought to myself, ‘well I can’t eat all this alone!’ So I went down the hall and invited all my neighbors to join me. We cooked it together and shared a meal on Thanksgiving. And that’s how I made my new friends!”

Every Thanksgiving from then on, her new friends would come from all over the building to share a feast in her home. Thanks to Holiday Helpings, Donna experienced the simple joy of sharing a plentiful meal with friends and family.

Isn’t that what the holidays are all about? It’s why we do Holiday Helpings every year. Please join us.

This year, Donna passed from us due to heart failure. We were deeply saddened. But we like to think of what we accomplished together. Bread for the City helped Donna become safe, healthy, and independent, and Holiday Helpings gave her the means to celebrate.

And Donna gave back. She donated about ten dollars each month to Bread for the City. This was a big deal. Even with her Social Security benefits, after rent, utilities, transportation and food, Donna would hardly have any disposable income left at all. But even with just ten dollars, Donna could still give back to the community that gave her so much. Will you join us in providing for more families who will come to us in need?

Give to Bread for the City’s Holiday Helpings or (today only) at Give To the Max.