Over the weekend I had a pretty humbling experience. Tina’s recent business travel resulted in a sizable number of toiletries (soaps, shampoo, conditioner, lotion). Coupled with a trip to the dollar store for disposable razors (10 for $1.00), deodorant, lip balm, cotton swabs, tissues and a big pile of small candies, we were able to assemble ten ‘homeless kits’ for a local shelter dedicated to assisting homeless veterans.
Standing in the cozy home I share with Tina, amid the comfortable furniture, my warm clothing and a pantry full of food…my heart started to break a little as I sealed each bag.
The Liberty House Veterans Transitional House in Manchester NH (and many other non-profits like them) work hard, every day, to give back to our veterans who are struggling and suffering on the streets.
How easy is it to give?
As mentioned earlier, a package of 10 disposable razors cost me a dollar. I’ve probably got than much in change sitting in my car. You probably do too.
For many people, it’s not the money. It’s the willingness to give, and trust that it will go to the right people.
We’ve all seen people standing at the exit of the shopping centers, holding a sign…while texting on an iPhone, smoking cigarettes and wearing a pricey pair of sneakers or hiking boots.
A friend of mine once gave one of these people (whose sign said “Will work for food”) a ten-spot, only to see him later than day buying butts and beer with it.
Let’s just say it wasn’t a happy reunion.
It took a while for that friend to even entertain the thought of ‘giving back’ again.
He came around, eventually, when he realized that is not the ‘typical’ situation.
It can be tough to overcome a stereotype when we’ve seen it first-hand.
Have I ever been burned by giving and then seeing it wasted away?
I bet you have too.
And that’s fine.
I just hope you’ll let it slide and keep on giving. Seek out those causes and organizations which give from the heart and truly make the best of every dollar.
They’re out there, doing their thing.
We just need to find them and hop on board, not just at the holidays but all year round.
Try it…you might just love it.
Plus, some very cool people will appreciate it!