The Rev. Becky Balestri says her gifts to help others keep a tradition alive and remind her daughter that charity is a virtue.
Every year for her daughter's birthday, Balestri donates to The World-Herald's Goodfellows fund, which provides one-time emergency aid and holiday meal certificates to needy people in our area.
And every year, Balestri adds a dollar.
She started the tradition when daughter Corrin Killion was 11 years old. Last year she gave $15 for Corrin's 15th year. And she plans to keep it going.
“When I tell her about it, she kind of shrugs her shoulders and gets embarrassed, but it's a mother's job to embarrass her children,” she said.
Balestri switched her career path from accounting to ministry 22 years ago. Now, the pastor at Omaha's Underwood Hills Presbyterian Church helps people through mission work and by supporting charities she believes in.
“Every year I read the Goodfellows stories, and I think they're doing the right thing,” Balestri said.
She said she works at Underwood Hills because of its mission to help those who need it most. The church supports a Christian community for current and former prison inmates, parolees and their families and donates to local charities and shelters.
Balestri hopes her daughter will continue the giving tradition when she has her own children.
“I've been doing my best to model generosity for her,” Balestri said. “I'm trying to make her more aware of others in the community.”