Two Sundays ago our church had their annual “Sharing Sunday.” Every year for as long as I can remember parishioners have brought festively wrapped Christmas gifts which are distributed to hundreds of needy parishes throughout the Houston area. The Frantz family saves all year the pennies jingling in their pockets, nickels at the bottom of purses, dimes hangin’ out in backpacks, and yes, even a bunch of quarters found between the couch cushions. We have a couple of old glass milk bottles that should have been returned for deposit decades ago camped out right next to the microwave so it’s plenty handy for collection purposes. It’s amazing how much change we managed to accumulate again this year, along with a bunch of funny-looking foreign coins that the Coin Star machine rejected. My favorite part is the shopping, and the least … well … the wrapping part to be sure. Besides the exceptional toys, it’s why I shop at a neighborhood toy store that does the wrapping for me. It’s not that I’m exactly lazy. I’m just a terrible wrapper upper. My family can attest to that fact. Look under our Christmas tree and they can all point to which presents have been wrapped by mom. Next year I should definitely take lessons. Personally, I like to purchase lots of baby dolls for our “Sharing Sunday.” I’ll never forget when I was probably 4 or 5 how I loved my baby doll. I remember how my little sister, Mary and I, used to bring our dolls over to my grandmother’s house and she would make doll clothes for them. My grandmother was always fragile in health. She was also Dutch and couldn’t speak a word of English. But she sure could give the best hugs … and make some pretty awesome doll clothes. That memory still makes me smile. It was a few weeks back I happened to be chattin’ with Barbara. She’s a lovely lady I know that works in transportation in our school district. She was Mimi’s, our special child’s bus driver for a couple of years and a real jewel … we’re talkin’ flawless diamond quality. I was tellin’ Barbara that I was getting ready to buy a bunch of baby dolls when she told me about the Secret Pal group she has belonged to for the past 15 years. “For years our group in transportation used to just exchange gifts amongst ourselves. Then about 5 or 6 years ago everyone decided we had enough gifts and wouldn’t it be nice to do something for others. I mean some kids don’t get anything for Christmas,” said Barbara. Because of confidentiality rules, their group contacted a school nurse at one of the needier elementary schools in the district. It was there the Secret Pals “adopted” a young boy that they helped all year long, for several years, with school clothes and gift cards for toys and food. The lad has since moved on to middle school. “We always wished we knew who the child was. The nurse had told us that sometimes the family had to sleep in their car,” Barbara told me. This year the Secret Pals in the transportation department adopted a local shelter. “We noticed that the rooms were so plain-looking when we went over there so we provided bedspreads, pictures for the walls and flower arrangements. One of the ladies sews and made some crib sheets out of full-size sheets,” said Barbara. This year the Secret Pals gave gifts to the volunteers at the shelter. “This was our first Christmas adopting the shelter so we helped put up a tree and decorated and gave all the volunteers watches,” Barbara told me. Just so you don’t think the rest of the transportation department in the district is resting on their holly bushes, did you know that they are providing Christmas presents to all the Pre-K and kindergarten at three local needy schools? Makes your heart feel kinda full don’t it? Say … did you hear that jingle? It’s a day or two early for Santa’s sleigh bells so that is not what’s jinglin’. Actually, that was the sound of coinage hitting the bottom of the old milk jug by our microwave. No time like the present to get started on next year’s Sharing Sunday baby doll extravaganza. May your Christmas be merry! Dixie Frantz is a long-time Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..