People are compelled to give to others for all kinds of reasons, some very personal. For CITC Healthcare Training Program Manager Mark Hiratsuka, it was the memory of his lost children that moved him to contribute to the Christmas Basket program.
“My wife and I were parents of two beautiful children, Michael and Charity, who each passed away,” Mark shares. “Each year at Christmas, we were always trying to think of ways we could remember our children, and the Christmas basket program was just the perfect solution to what we wanted to do.”
Starting in 2007, when Mark first joined the CITC family, he and his wife began donating to the Christmas Basket program — which provides gift cards to the children of low-income families — each year. In addition to providing a brighter holiday for those in need, the Hiratsukas’ gift helped them keep alive the memory of their children.
“I’m always thinking of a scriptural passage that has meant a lot to me, which says, ‘Give, and it shall be given back to you,’” Mark adds. “And that return doesn’t necessarily come back in money, but in happiness. It’s not about how much you give; it’s just participating in an act of kindness toward other people and remembering that this will bring an opportunity someone wouldn’t have had if it hadn’t been for the generosity of the Christmas Basket program.”
He recalls speaking with one CITC participant who expressed how much she appreciated CITC’s services and, in particular, the Christmas Basket program. “This year,” she told him, “I didn’t have any resources available. I really thought I wasn’t going to be able to provide for my family. Then I was referred to the Christmas Basket, and we were able to have a wonderful Christmas.”
“That meant a lot to her,” Mark recalls. “To make that kind of impact on someone’s life, especially during the holidays, it just renews the commitment that I personally feel to the program.”
You can make the same difference in the lives of CITC participants. There’s still time to donate to the Christmas Basket program. A donation of $25 provides one child with a gift card, while a $100 donation will ensure that four children receive a gift card. Don’t wait — do what you can today!