A Kind, Forgiving, Charitable Time

What is the true meaning of the Christmas season anyway? It surely can’t be about getting the latest iPhone, FitBit, gaming system, or any of a host of other materialistic wants. Yet that is what the media would like us to buy into (pun intended).

I recall the line from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol where Scrooge’s nephew tries to convince Scrooge to understand the true meaning of the season, “I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

Some people understand this message as I see people donating to and collecting for organizations like Toys for Tots, local food banks, local animal shelters, etc. One of those amazing groups is harnesslife.org. This nonprofit initiates, promotes and subsidizes actions to prevent unwanted litters of cats and dogs. Their goal? To reduce the number of surrendered or abandoned companion animals in our shelters.

When everyone else is spending their weekends shopping for the latest gadgets, the kind-hearted volunteers of harnesslife.org are spending the four weekends before Christmas giving of their time to help others. Their FUNdraiser is to have your pet’s (or pets’) picture taken with Santa. This isn’t limited to dogs and cats. Santa loves pigs, chickens, lambs – whatever you have. Don’t have a pet? No worries. Bring yourself. Bring the kids. Bring the whole family.  The awesome part is that 100% of the proceeds of the sale of your photo purchase goes directly to the harnesslife.org Spay Neuter Fund! There are are so many animals in shelters who end up euthanized because they can’t be homed, yet many animals are not fixed, so the roverpopulation problem continues.  New this year- they accept credit card payments through PayPal if you spend $25 or more. Check out this link for dates and times. It is a great cause and fun day out, but more importantly, it is the true meaning of Christmas.

So what is the Christmas season? It is a “good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time” and a time to “open up (your) shut-up hearts freely.”  It is an opportunity to help others, a way to spend time with the ones you love, a time to make memories. To paraphrase Dickens’ character Tiny Tim, human, furry, scaly, or feathered, “May God bless us, every one!”


Posted in News & Events, Roverpopulation and tagged , .

Gwen Kusznier is mom to a 12-year old competitive gymnast, a 10-year old AAA hockey player, an adorable 8-year old furball with an adorable underbite (rescued through S&L and fostered by Dee and Paul), and a baby parakeet. She is also the wife to a beer league hockey player. She loves them all fiercely.

Gwen teaches eighth grade English- Language Arts at Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School. She believes that everyone can make a difference and should pursue their passions to make the world a better place. Her students amaze her with their clever Humanity Service Learning Projects in which they educate others about and volunteer for charities such as HarnessLife.

Gwen has been involved in numerous book clubs and writing groups. As she begins her volunteering with HL, Gwen is excited to harness her creativity energies with this new chapter in her life.

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