Back when I was living the dream as a college senior, I was put in charge of a small Christmas charity drive.
Members were asked to donate personal care, hygiene, or small gift items, and I needed to find a place for them to go.
Mid-December got crazy as finals, papers, and group project piled up and threatened to bury me with their intensity. I was very much wrapped up in my own cares as I studied, drank coffee, and tried to determine the ways in which “Foreign National Tax Consulting” would be pertinent in my post-college life.
But, a giant box full of body wash, diapers, and toothpaste couldn’t be ignored.
It wasn’t hard to find a big list of shelters in the Minneapolis area; the challenge was picking where to give. I got immersed in websites of several, reading about the valuable programs and community outreach they provided.
I finally settled on a crisis shelter for women and children on the west side of downtown. I called them, and a resounding “Yes!” told me they would be thrilled with any donations I could provide.
It was a bitterly cold afternoon when I drove there with overflowing bags of things.
The street was slick and icy as I tottered across holding bags packed just a little too full. One of the bags ripped, and bottles of “green apple” and “fresh strawberry” shampoo and conditioner slid to the curb.
I gathered things as quickly as I could and wiped everything clean when I made it into the warmth of the entry.
The program director was gracious, and I saw several little kids curiously peeking at what had arrived.
As I drove away, I knew this small moment would change me forever.
One donation to one shelter in one city.
It seems so tiny. And yet, I know it made a difference for them that Christmas. Making an impact really isn’t about doing huge things. It’s about many people pitching in however they can.
If we all picked just one extra place to donate time or resources, can you imagine the impact?
I have never been back to the shelter, but someday I hope to again. Through three address changes I still get their newsletter though. Maybe they wonder who I am or why I send money every year?
Of course — it doesn’t really matter who I am. What matters is who they are. And the good they do.
Today is Give to the Max Day, and in Minnesota many non-profits participate. They have the chance to win extra resources when people donate today, and many can get matching funds.
So many worthy causes exist. The 4-H and FFA groups that bring enrichment and education to youth, church and religious groups, disaster relief efforts. The list is endless.
Maybe you are compelled to make a special gift for typhoon relief or contribute to an organizations that does disease research and outreach?
Whatever is on your heart, just know that you don’t have to give a lot to make a difference. So give to the max, whatever that may be.
Wishing goodness and peace to you all today, in whatever ways you may need.
*I was not asked or compensated to write this post. It’s just my own personal musings I felt compelled to share today.