To the editor:
The local chapter of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul recently applied to the city of Crestwood to open a thrift store in the vacant space left by Office Max.
The mission of this organization is to offer person-to-person service to the needy and suffering, and those efforts are funded in part by sales from the thrift stores.
After reading about their failure to obtain permission from the city to occupy that space despite having met all of the required conditions, I was left wondering what kind of “Christmas in Crestwood” we actually have.
In turning away this potential tenant, none other than Mayor Gregg Roby himself, along with the chair of the Christmas in Crestwood effort, made a point to express their opposition to this organization’s application for a permit.
In an email to the Planning and Zoning Commission, the chair of Christmas in Crestwood, Sue Bremehr, said that she “didn’t see the clientele from St. Vincent’s having lunch in one of our many restaurants, visiting one of the salons or shopping at one of our many retail stores.”
Notwithstanding the fact that her comments belie a complete ignorance of exactly who shops at these thrift stores, the chair’s comments beg the question: What kind of Christmas can we have in Crestwood if we are not fulfilling the Christmas message of peace on earth and good will towards men — especially those to whom the display of good will might require effort, sacrifice or a little discomfort?
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is committed to helping those who may not be blessed with the good fortune we often take for granted.
Unfortunately for this worthy organization, city leaders could not find it in their hearts to extend to them the same charitable attitude they showed when they gambled with our money and offered tax breaks to a wealthy developer.
What they did do is spend our tax dollars on legal fees actively seeking ways to prevent St. Vincent’s from finding a home in Crestwood.
We may have a superficial, commercialized Christmas in Crestwood, but it is completely devoid of the good news that defines the holiday. Perhaps as the joyful day approaches, we can all take a few minutes to reflect on how we are bearing witness to the Christmas message.