Family skips Christmas to give to Portland's homeless

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by Scott Burton

KREM.com

Posted on December 24, 2010 at 11:47 PM

PORTLAND -- The tradition started last year as Jamie Seymour struggled trying to make all the gifts even and all the presents perfect.

"With the economy being what it was, I started thinking about Christmas and it just started getting really stressful," recalled Seymour.

The solution was simple but unique. Seymour and her children decided to forego their own Christmas and give to those less fortunate. The tradition continues this year with sixty bags packed personally with care and compassion for Portland's homeless.

By all measure, it's a gesture that strikes to the heart of the holiday spirit. But as you get to know Jamie and her four children, each bag takes on an even deeper meaning. For Jamie's daughter Godiva, it was a man's tears at receiving a single deck of playing cards.

"He told us he hadn't had a present for Christmas in over 30 years.and just little deck of cards wrapped up and he was crying," explained Godiva.

For Phoenix, it's about spreading the spirit beyond family to friends.

"My friends made cookies for the lunches so we have a bunch of cookies to give out."

Jamie's kids aren't forced to participate. It's not something they do to teach a lesson or to get recognition. They weren't even sure they wanted to share their story with us. This is how they celebrate because for them it's what Christmas is actually about.

"I don't know I feel like it's the real meaning of Christmas to, I don't know, go out and help people," said Seymour.

Friday morning under the Burnside Bridge, sixty homeless men and women will celebrate the season. All the gifts will be be even and all the presents perfect. A merry Christmas, thanks to Jamie Seymour and her family.
 
 

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