Annie is a long-time friend.
She's funny, well-spoken, smart and doggedly committed to family.
Annie married a tremendously nice fellow a few years ago. He had two kids. Annie and this fellow had two lovely girls of their own, making it a family of six.
It wasn't easy for the family at times. Annie stayed home and cared for the kids, while the tremendously nice fellow attempted to earn a living that could sustain the entire brood.
Sometimes it got quite stressful.
Apparently, it got to be too stressful for the tremendously nice fellow. He made some decisions that weren't so very nice at all.
Among the most profound of these not-so-nice decisions? He just left Annie and his kids. For someone he met on a dating site. He'd been advertising himself as "single, and ready for anything."
So ready for anything was he that he quit his job and moved several states away, without a moment's notice.
Annie and her kids are stunned and penniless.
Just in time for the holidays.
I'm going to skip the mall today. I don't care how great the sales are. I'm going to help Annie and her family with the money I'd have spent there instead.
I'd like for you to consider doing the same, for someone in your immediate circle who may be in crisis, or for Annie if you are so inclined. I'll be matching any contributions received here through the holiday weekend.
My hope is that I can give Annie and her young kids a tiny little bright spot. A tank of gas. A month's worth of heat or electricity. A ham dinner.
Annie will prevail. She's one tough cookie and I know she will emerge from this in grand fashion. But for now, it's a pretty big sh#tstorm.
No one needs a $7.99 singing reindeer from Walgreen's this year, folks. But I'll bet all the money I've got that you have an Annie in your circle.
And she could probably could use the $7.99 this Black Friday.
Photo source - flickr.com creative commons: hlklgk