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A Birthday Party With Some Social Good

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After Thanksgiving, our thoughts turn to shopping. The news is filled with information about sales -- what's on sale, who's selling what and how high (or low) sales are this season.

As we're frantically driving to the mall to spend our hard-earned dollars on the latest this or the most popular that, I wish that we could just stop. And remember that sometimes the most meaningful gifts are the ones that we can give to everyone on any day of the year.

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This past weekend was my son's 9th birthday. He and 12 of his buddies gathered at a local batting cage for baseball drills, fun, pizza and cake. As I was planning this event, the economic environment and overall state of the country brought pause to what the festivities could bring. It was certainly a celebration of another year older, but I also thought it was a timely opportunity to bring a broader perspective of our community to my son.

My son and I agreed that this year, in lieu of gifts from his friends at the birthday party, he would request donations of used or new baseball equipment that would be donated to the SF Giants Community Fund's Junior Giants Program. Junior Giants welcomes kids from all backgrounds and encourages them to live healthy and productive lives by getting outside and playing baseball. I emailed the SF Giants Community Fund, and they were happy to receive donations.

At first, my son could not imagine that children would not have enough money to buy baseball equipment that would enable them to learn and enjoy the sport of baseball (which he loves and has played through the Fall). He was especially surprised that these children could be right in our local community. Now that the party is over, we are all thrilled to have collected bats, gloves, cleats, balls and even pants that will go to the Junior Giants. Kids and parents were completely supportive.

I am so glad we did this-and will likely do it again next year. Other families at our school have done the same, asking for book donations for the local library, or toys for children who are hospitalized. While the current state of our country and economy is certainly causing anxiety-for me and for my son-it has also brought some clarity-to what is important in life and that now more than ever we can help each other and be thankful for what we have.

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