You never know when you’re going to find in yourself in a situation where you need the basics. Whether it’s shelter or food or clothing; that’s a situation that I hope to never find myself in. It’s also a situation that I can hope to make better for others by finding ways that I can give back in my community. For me, that goes beyond a monetary donation, it means also volunteering of my time. When I was a teenager, a volunteer experience on the Salvation Army food truck changed my life. I volunteered for an afternoon with my mother. I didn’t quite know what to expect but our volunteer leader told us to be prepared for anything. So I was.
In reality, I never could have been prepared for what I would experience that afternoon. While we were not wealthy, we were comfortable in our status. I had clothes, food, a roof over my head… I was taken care of.
I would be reminded of this, and quite quickly, after we made our first stop in an empty parking lot. There were already people lined up and waiting for the truck. Families, elderly individuals- all in need of the hot meal that we were about to provide. A meal that consisted of canned pasta, canned green beans, a piece of bread, a cookie, and juice. Something so simple and so basic. Something that I might even refuse if it was served to me.
And yet, they were lined up and waiting.
This occurred at every stop we made, three total, throughout the city. And the ages of the individuals were the same. Families, elderly, those in need.
I almost cried.
When I got home with my mom, we didn’t talk about our experience. But I knew, and she knew, that I was changed.
Giving back to my community, to those in need and to those who need it, has now been a consistent part of my life. Sometimes it’s through monetary donations and sometimes it’s through volunteering. When Squeaker is ready, we’ll start visiting nursing homes and the local VA hospital.
And in the meantime, we get involved at church.
We have two programs throughout the year.
And various programs throughout the year, like our Equinox meal drive and the Maritime Ministry.
Many companies are also in the business of giving back. One of them is Western Union through their Chain of Betters campaign:
We believe that when money moves, better things happen. A business expands. A family connects. A child goes to college. Emergency aid arrives the moment it’s needed. An economy prospers, an opportunity opens, a community heals.
Moving money for better means moving money for a better world –creating value for individuals, businesses and for society.
We do this together every day. The money sent by our customers can help to stimulate economies and make individuals’ lives more rewarding and fulfilled.
This is what lies at the heart of the new Chain of Betters project. It’s an idea that empowers people with the opportunity to change the lives of others. As the money moves around the world, creating a chain of good deeds, together we can start to change lives in ways we wouldn’t have imagined was possible. This isn’t just saying money moves for better. This is proving it, together.
Do you give back to your community?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.