Shortly before Christmas in 1922, five Australian businessmen were returning from a trip to the Blue Mountains. They debated whether everyone was enjoying the Christmas spirit. One of the men asked the others if they were aware of the poverty and need that surrounded the areas where they each owned factories. The other four were surprised to hear of it, and a couple couldn’t be convinced of it. The man who raised the subject then challenged the others to investigate his claim a little, and they all agreed to meet at a pub a week later to have a beer and discuss what they discovered.
The other four men were amazed at the number of disadvantaged children and families they found, not in some foreign country but almost in their very backyards. When the group met a week later, the men unanimously agreed that they had to do something about it. They decided that at the very least, every child should be able to join in the spirit of Christmas. So they started at the local orphanages where children were without the love of families and showered them with gifts and candy.
While the men were delivering the food and gifts, the woman in charge of the orphanage asked them their names so that the children could write letters of thanks. Wanting to remain anonymous, one of the men replied, “Er . . . Smith!”
“What about the others?” asked the matron.
“They’re Smiths too!” replied the man “We’re all Smiths. The Smith Family.”
Today The Smith Family is one of Australia’s leading charitable organizations, and the five founders have managed to remain anonymous. Over the past eighty years, the organization has continued to review the needs of disadvantaged children and families and responded accordingly. Matthew Kelly
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