To the editor:

A local child asked for shoes.

And SPUR made sure she got them.

Just over two years ago, we set out to create an organization that could inspire our local communities to SPUR one another on toward love and good deeds. An organization that embraces the notion that you don’t have to change the world, simply do your little bit. At SPUR, we aim to make a tangible difference in the lives of both our recipients and our volunteers. The work has been an honor — a labor of love — with a calendar of activity that culminates annually through our Holiday Cheer drive.

While requests at the holidays traditionally include the latest gadgets of fun, it is sobering to see hundreds of basic requests for simple necessities: toiletries, bed sheets, food, underwear and warm clothing for our New England winters.

Letters of thanks are beginning to trickle in, and among them, we received this letter from a Marblehead resident about their experience and how the kindness of strangers can provide light on the darkest days and ignite a passion to spur it forward. With permission, we share:

“Last year, I had come home, with my two young children, to a huge package on the doorstep. I knew right away what it was — they didn’t. They asked, ‘Who left it? What is it for? Who did this?’ And I remember saying so numbly, ‘Someone who loves us.’ 

“I knew who left the package because just a few weeks before, I had gotten a letter: ‘We would like to sponsor your child.’ Someone else knew I had lost everything, that there was no hope. That it was hard to get up every morning, let alone think about the enormity that Christmas is when you have two little children and nothing to give them. I still remember sitting and thinking in this little seaside town, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. 

“We shouldn’t need to rely on strangers to get us through the holiday. But we did.

“It was then that I decided I would give more.

“Fast forward a year. I am volunteering to help with the Holiday Cheer drive and as I read the wish lists from hundreds of children, in my heart, it was like I could feel the parents, even the kids saying, ‘It wasn’t supposed to be this way.’ My phone rings. I answer. ‘My drop off is going to be late, it’s just that she asked for shoes and I want to get really nice ones.’ 


“(A child asked for shoes).

“The enormity of the pain I was carrying last year for not being able to provide for my two children, I felt in my heart for 430 this year. A year later, I went from needing SPUR to make our holiday happen to taking my children to the SPUR holiday headquarters, so they could give back.

“When my life had changed more than I ever thought possible, I felt a void. If everything ended here, today, would I have accomplished everything I could have? Would I have been the best mother, daughter, sister that I could be? And I realized, that the answer was no. As much as I was ‘doing’ every day, I was offering so little beyond my home. And that is why I got involved. To offer what I can to people who never thought it would be this way.

“I wanted to give back to the organization that had fundamentally changed me as a person. Had actually made me believe that people can do something for a stranger, for no reason, other than to be kind. To come full circle in one short year from needing my community, to giving back to my community ... to SPUR a good deed.”

We are truly amazed and humbled by the work we are accomplishing together. When we give, not only does it shine a light in the darkness for others but illuminates our desire to do more. We here at SPUR are so grateful to live surrounded by generous people, like you, and invite you in 2017 to SPUR good deeds with us.

Margaret Mead said it best: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

On behalf of our team here at SPUR, happiest holiday wishes with deepest gratitude.


Jocelyn Cook



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