Today I went not just off peninsula, but left Cumberland County. Why you might ask? I went to a regional middle school to bring some non-perishable real food things to the school to be put in Go-Bags for kids whose family may not have the resources to provide real food for these kids. Me writing about it in this form and function may come across as, “Look at me and how giving I am!” and, because I’m human and 31 years old, sure there’s a small, small portion of that which is true, but the bigger thing is that there’s a whole slew of things spiraling out of control in my world right now. That’s similar to what these middle schoolers are facing. The difference is that I have a bit more flexibility in my life. With money showing up every two weeks in my name I’m able to get food. I’m able to leave the house. I’m able to see my friends, see my confidants, splurge on coffee, splurge on pizza. These pre- and peri-adolescents don’t have these abilities or flexibilities nor do their families.
So, yes. There’s an aspect of me that gives back for me, but what I get back isn’t a tax deduction. It’s the ability to help someone. Help someone who needs it, help someone who’s asked for it. And the ability to feel something is under my control.
Ten packs of oatmeal may only help five kids – and maybe for only two days – but they’ll help five kids right away who need the help right away. And where I can’t help the people closest to me? Those packs of oatmeal will help someone. That’s enough to keep me connected right now. And that connection? That’ll get me to the next minute and the minute after, maybe even the minute after that. Those minutes? Eventually they’ll get me another hour, day, week, month and year. And eventually? That’ll be something I’m grateful for.
Post Script – There are kids and families in your community who are particularly in need, even if you don’t know who they are. Contact your local schools, United Way, churches, civic groups, whomever so they can give you guidance on how to get help to those people.