Adult Education teacher at a local community college district and the founder of Comfort and Joy English which offers Skype English conversation lessons for women throughout the world; mother of two and wife of one
I wanted to share another highlight during my 29-Day Giving Challenge. This happened between Day 1 and Day 22. First, I collected $180 in donations from friends at my synagogue and then purchased nutritious food items and organic juice boxes, enough for 50-55 homeless food bags. On Day 22, I orchestrated a community service project in the 4th grade religious school classroom at my synagogue. I introduced the concept of sharing food with homeless and hungry people in our community and importance of sharing food and money with them. Then, the children did the following project: decorated 55 bag paper bags with cheerful images and positive words; wrote positive messages on small cards which they inserted into the bags; filled the bags with juice, water bottles, chocolate milk, and 3-5 food items like fiber bars, fruit bars, apple sauce, Vienna sausages, and nut & dried fruit crunch packets (almost all organic and high in nutrients, some items donated by the children's families). After the bags were prepared, they were immediately sold to people at the synagogue who were gathering for an event. We asked for a $2 donation for each bag but some people gave $20. Each person who donated money was instructed to take the bags and put them in the back seat of their car. Then, when they were approached by someone asking for food or money or they saw someone standing on the street with a sign saying "Will work for food" or "Unemployed -- food/money, please", the donor could simply offer the food bag and say, "Here's some food. Have a nice day!" There was such a great response that I collected $182 in donations and I still have 15 left to sell at a future event because some people just gave money and said that i could hand them out to homeless (but I am going to sell them to others and collect more donations!! In the end, I will donate all money collected to a disabled veterans organization. OMG - this project has done so much good on all levels!! I feel awesome!
One of the people who bought homeless food bags sent me the following email 3 days later: Good morning Kathy,
I have to share with you a bittersweet occurrence that happened to me last night. On my way home from running an errand, there was a poor soul at a red light who was the perfect candidate for your generous gift bag (which I carry in my car).
He expressed his thanks and while the light was still red , I was able to watch firsthand that he earnestly drank the two beverages and was sorting the remainder of the bag contents.
Your heartwarming idea became a cause that Sue and I immediately believed in. To watch it blossom on Sunday as our students and staff participating in assembling the bags was inspiring. And already, somebody has benefited from the kernel of an idea that became a generosity of heart, which I feel made a huge difference in somebodies life last night (including my own).
I was moved to witness the impact and proud to be a part of it.
Todah Rabah !!!!
Pam ------------------- Reading this email really moved me because I could hear first hand the impact it had both on the person who gifted a homeless food bag AND on the recipient of the bag!! It brought tears to my eyes just thinking the power of giving and how it can change lives!!!
YES! I love when we can see the results of our gifts - it doesn't always happen, but when it does, it's an image we can never forget. You've inspired me to create food packages to keep in my car, too, as I trust you've inspired others on 29 Gifts, as well. Thank you, Kathy! I'm so glad you're here. This is what the 29-day challenge is all about. Happy Giving!
Day 26 has just ended and OMG what a beautiful journey the 29-Day Giving Challenge has been!!! I want to share a highlight since the last time I posted 2 weeks ago. Here is a recount of Day 11 shared in my Facebook post for that day: "It's been a long and fulfilling day. Today I shampooed the whole downstairs carpets of my home (gift #1), hiked over 4 miles with two friends (gift received and gift to self), went to a funeral (gift #2) where I helped an Orthodox rabbi (my rabbi from Hillel at CSULB over 25 years ago ) completely cover the top and sides the casket with soil using a shovel (gift #3), and now I am going to the college to teach til 8:30pm (gift #4). Good thing I grabbed a different shirt and shoes to change into for the funeral and now for work as i haven't been home since shampooing the carpets!!"
I am starting Day 11 and each day had been an exciting adventure! Some of the gifts I have offered are: visiting a friend who is recovering from surgery and doing chores for her like walking her dog,, donating money to help pay a my dear friend's funeral, paying sincere compliments about people's beautiful smiles (which caused them to smile even bigger!!), paying more attention/expressing more interest in people's lives/interest, giving away my homemade candles and baked goods to my friends, and substitute teaching for coworkers at my college (which in turn has been a gift to me because it brings in more money for my family) and loving their students as my own.
Wonderful gifts, Kathy! The smallest acts of kindness can turn someone's bad day into a great one. It really is that simple. Your post about smiles is a gift to me, as well. It reminded me of the mission of former 29 Gifts Member Lubabat Scotland, who founded Operation Smiley Face. She brightened all our lives daily by sending smiles and handmade smiley pins around the world before her passing April 3, 2011, from cancer. Her spirit lives on every time we smile.
Day 1 Donated gently used t-shirts to Veterans organization and not-so-gently-used tshirts to a friend who will turn them into doggie toys for animals at an animal shelter. Paid for a movie ticket for my home stay student. Showed kindness and interest in a cashier at the market. Day 2 Told a lady that some hiking paths she was headed for were closed because of the rain the night before. Wrote a heartfelt letter that included both expression of my gratitude and a sincere apology. The next day I received a reply saying that the apology was accepted and appreciated and that my words of gratitude mean a lot to him. I helped a friend invite guests to an event she is planning. Day 3 visited a dear friend who just had a lumpectomy. I bought her a homemade lunch which we shared together and I held her dog's leash while we took it for a walk, and I did some house chores for her before I went home. And I thanked HER for asking me to come over to help her around the house and allowing me to do that Mitzvah (good deed) for her!! She is a very independent woman so I acknowledged her for reaching out to others for help during her recovery from her surgery and for receiving so graciously and gratefully!