Not having a home, not even just a place to live . . . but a piece of this world that feels like you belong and can live your best life, that’s precious. And everyone is entitled to it. - Tony Maida
Tony Maida first experienced the beauty and pain of the Lower 9th Ward on a volunteer trip in 2009. We spent the week working on homes that, four years after the levees burst, had barely been touched. Tony never forgot it.
In the years since, Tony has helped the Lower 9th Ward whenever he could. For the past two years, he and his husband, Tony Volpe, have been the donors who anonymously matched year-end gifts to the L9WHA to encourage others to give as well. This year, outdoing themselves, Tony and Tony will provide a 50% match for the first $4000 in gifts made by December 31. To join them in giving, go to www.l9wha.org/donate.
Last Sunday, at All Souls Unitarian Church in DC—which sponsored that volunteer trip ten years ago—Rev. Rob Hardies gave a sermon called Simple Gifts. He offered a perspective on the Christmas story I had never heard. Each of the people and animals who were part of that story brought the gift they had. The donkey gave Mary his strong back, the cows gave Jesus their manger, the shepherds brought their wonder, the kings brought their gold. None of them—not even Mary—had everything that was needed. But when each gave what they had, then they had everything.
“Start where you are and do what you can,” Rev. Rob counseled. Vast global problems show up in intimate ways in our lives. You don’t need to—ok, you can’t—solve the whole problem. But you do need to do what you can—and to trust that others will too.
That’s what I love the most about Tony and Tony’s gift. They understand that they are only a small part of the whole. They know that for their gift to truly matter, other people must give too. And their faith that they will is so strong that they have rested their own gift on it. To learn more about all Tony and Tony have graciously agreed be a part of, please read our new report, Bringing History to Life.
As the cows and the shepherds gave a place for a baby’s head to lay, Tony and Tony are offering a place for people to live their best lives. “I hope our contribution has managed to help achieve that for some,” Tony M. wrote me.
Yes, Tony, it has, and it will continue to do so for years to come.
To join Tony and Tony in partnering with the L9WHA, I invite you to join the KREWE OF HOUSE THE 9 -- a community of sustaining donors who will provide the strong financial foundation we need for the next phase of the neighborhood's recovery. Go to our website at www.l9wha.org/donate or mail a check to the address below.
The first $4000 in gifts will receive a 50% match by these two wise and generous men.
(Homes in the L9, ready for the holidays. Residents are gratefully anticipating 10 new homes across the street next year. You, a partner of the L9WHA, have helped to make them a reality!)