Gratitude and Giving
As I said good-bye to the holidays and entered into really enjoying this year, I found myself in gratitude for all I have. I enjoyed spending time with family, friends and colleagues in celebrating, but I also found myself reflecting on those less fortunate, on how much more I could have done or given. In reflecting, I began to ask some questions and would challenge each and every one of you to look into what more you can do.
“All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don’t discover why. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.” (Danny Thomas, founder, St. Jude’s Hospital) I began to look around, in my community, and I began to ask some questions, specifically about helping those in need and what services were available. In the Broken Bow community, the food pantry has served 2262 people in the past year; 682 of those were repeat customers, while 83 new applications were taken in a year’s time. That is a lot of people who are using this service. So where does the product come from that is distributed to the people in need and what can one person do?
Kathy Salts, co-chairperson in Broken Bow, reported that the Ministerial Association, comprised of the churches in the area, collect and stock the food, with help of volunteers. Community clubs and service groups also help with food donations, but the pantry sometimes has more need than donations.
Ways that people can make donations include volunteering their services, in the food pantry while it is open, as well as stocking the shelves with product at other times. Salts admitted that they often do not have enough volunteers to assist people adequately, from filling out applications, to filling the orders when customers are present. The food pantry is open only a couple days a week, for a few hours each day, so often there are more customers than volunteers to assist. The donations that come in also have to be stocked, and that is usually supervised by the volunteer church members, but they often need more volunteers to stock the shelves.
Other ways to contribute include donations of product. The main need in a food pantry is non-perishable food product. Pasta, sauces, condiments, cans of tuna, chicken, salmon, frozen foods (meats, vegetables, fruits), as well as boxed foods are always welcome. Salts also admitted that they often do not have enough donations of paper products, including toilet paper, Kleenex, and paper towels. Cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and dish-washing soap are also needed.
The food pantry also accepts cash donations, which should be given directly to the Ministerial Association, and they then will purchase the product needed.
So what can one person do? Volunteer some time. Who doesn’t have a couple hours a week they could give to help out? Or a donation? What if we pick up a few extra cans each week when we are shopping and donate those? Or what if, as a group, a club, a business, or a family, we look at our giving habits and instead use the money we spend buying for each other and make a contribution to those less fortunate? Perhaps we need, in our daily life, to have boxes available for contributions in our workplace, to which others can add to, which can then be donated? If I saw a box setting out, marked for that purpose, I would be more likely to remember to donate.
“Go out and make a difference in your community. You don’t need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating.” (Barbara Sher) I don’t think it matters where we volunteer, what we choose as our contribution: time, energy, money, material goods, but I do think we all need to reflect on how we honor others and ourselves, through giving. As I looked around, the food pantry was the first thing I noticed as a place that needs more volunteers. I am sure there are other ways to give, to contribute, to make a difference. I would like to challenge everyone to identify a need, to look within and see what kind of a difference you want to make, and then to dedicate some time, energy, financial assistance, whatever you can give, to a worthy cause. In appreciating all we have, we surely can share with others.Tags: donating for others, giving to others, gratitude, one person can make a difference, success lies in donig for others, what can you do for others
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
Licensed Professional Counselor
Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist
- Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.
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