The Thanksgiving and Christmas season seems to be the best environment to model a giving spirit for our children, even in these tough economic times. An encouraging model is a judge in my city; she has the giving spirit all year.

Once a month in her family court the judge renders decisions about sending mothers with substance abuse addiction violations either to jail or her recovery and residential program designed to keep them connected with their children. They work through the program and later find honorable employment. I have witnessed many of these moms graduate from the program and reunite with their children and loved ones. It’s worth five hankies!

During the holiday season the women receive many gifts from the community: toiletries, scarves, gloves, fruit baskets. However, we wanted to give them a gift that would outlast the holidays. Well, the giving spirit touched several of us who volunteer. We had a good idea—hosting cooking classes to help them prepare  their meals while at the residential home and empower them with a skill on their departure. Menus, grocery lists, budgets, and cooking tips are at the top of our agenda. The simplicity of each session is routine for us but could be overwhelming for some.

Recently, we held our first class. It was a huge and yummy success! I am not sure who benefited the most, the women or us. We do know that the sparkle in their eyes and notes and thank yous were better than just handing them a wrapped gift. We are just moms giving to moms.