On my bookshelf by my front door sits a jar filled with coins. Come December, in the days leading up to Christmas, I will give the jar anonymously to someone in need. I don’t know who that will be yet, whether it will be someone I know or a random stranger I see on the street.
Christmas Jars is a book by Jason Wright. In the book, Hope, a journalist, receives a Christmas jar the same day her apartment is robbed. Eager to find who sent it to her, she begins researching, only to find others’ stories of their own Christmas jars received and given. It is an inspiring story about giving and selflessness.
My friend and coworker Laurie first heard about the book when a customer came into our bookstore and requested it. Intrigued, she bought one for herself. She was so inspired by the story that she told every coworker and customer who stepped foot inside the door. The next year, she made it a goal to sell 500 copies of the book, which she did, and she even gave out a few empty jars for others to fill. She contacted the publisher, who sent her jar wraps to give away as well.
But that wasn’t enough for Laurie. She wanted to get the whole country involved. So she set out on a goal: distribute 1,001 Christmas jars within a year, with at least one in every state. Throughout the year, Laurie met, talked, and emailed people about Christmas Jars. She sent empty jars to people and about half also received books. Not only did she get jars distributed to every state, but she also had jars in 11 different countries! She believed in the Christmas jars so much that she paid for everything out of her own pocket. I remember her saying to me one day, “I’m basically working to support the project.” That’s how much she believed in it.
Countless lives have been touched by Laurie’s determination and own inspiration. I received a jar one year, gratefully. I’ve given as well. Earlier this year another coworker fell ill and was out from work for a few months. My coworkers and I all chipped in and gave what we had in our Christmas jars already to help our coworker with mounting hospital bills. (Even Fred pitched in some cash, even though he’d only met the woman once.) I was there when she received the check. She was overwhelmed by the kindness of the people who loved her. I’m not sure about my other coworkers, but I wouldn’t have had the money set aside to help her if it hadn’t been for my Christmas jar – if it hadn’t been for Laurie.
Now, imagine if you will, how much more good Laurie could do if her project were funded by an outside source. That’s exactly what she’s trying to do through the Pepsi Refresh Project. With the money, Laurie would like to buy and distribute jars and books so that more people can hand out their own Christmas jars. But she needs everyone’s help. Please vote for her by clicking here or you can text the number 73774 with the message 102016. One person has already helped so many. Now it’s time for us to help her.