The frustration lasted several minutes.  UPS delivered a Christmas gift today - something we ordered a few days ago - and to our surprise, the package was colorful and covered with pictures of the baseball pitching machine packed inside.  I'd assumed, incorrectly of course, that its box would be inside a plain brown shipping box. 

I'd also assumed that the delivery would be made during the many hours when an adult is home, rather than one of those rare instances when my sons arrive home from school 90 seconds before my wife does.  I'm well aware of what happens when one assumes.

The frustration only lasted a few minutes.  I read the account of what had taken place in an email from my wife, just before leaving work.  I drove a few miles on Bristol Road and passed the Tim Hortons at Bristol and I-475.  I was quickly reminded of Rod and Erin's toy drive for the Salvation Army, which takes place Friday from 6am to noon.

It's hard to escape the news of struggling families.  The economy and foreclosures are forcing once-self sufficient families to seek help from the Salvation Army and other charitable organizations.  Requests for assistance are up 30 percent this year, and approximately half of those requests are from families that have never asked for assistance in the past.

The circumstances forcing families to ask for a hand, are also making it difficult for charities to reach their goal, and provide help for everyone that needs it.  This year, the goal is to raise $805,000, up from last year's $700,000 goal.

That's where we come in.  Hopefully that's where you come in too. Cars 108's Rod and Erin will urge you to donate generously to the Salvation Army tomorrow.  Your toy and/or cash donations are greatly appreciated, and you can be assured they'll be put to good use.

I've gotten over my frustration about a surprise that won't be a surprise at our house on Christmas morning.  I'll remember how fortunate my family is, and hopefully I'll see you Friday morning at Tim Hortons.