Monday, October 17, 2016

366 Project - Day 291 - "Giving (Not Giving)"

October 17, 2016 - "Giving (Not Giving)"

I spent yesterday morning standing outside the entrance of a local grocery store selling the famous "Knights of Columbus Tootsie Rolls" to raise money for a Connecticut charity which focuses on children with special needs. For a little over two hours I stood with a little table which was covered in a banner that featured the Knights of Columbus' "Emblem of the Order" and upon which sat information about the charity... a box of Tootsie Rolls... a bowl of other types of chocolates and candies... and, of course, a large jar to collect donations.

As customers would head into the store I would greet them with a smile and a "Good Morning!", then ask if they would like to help children with special needs.

Many people instantly stopped, smiled, and gave whatever they could. Others smiled and said that they catch me on the way out - and I did not encounter a single person who said that and did not end up coming out with money in hand to place in the jar with a smile. There were even quite a few people who saw me as they were exiting their car, and already had money in their hand to give before I could even get out the words "Good Morning!".

There were many other people though...

There were people who replied to my "Good Morning!" with a happy "Good Morning!" back at me... and would go on to apologize that they did not have any cash or change on them... just credit cards.

There were people who, as soon as they saw me standing there, made it a point to avoid eye contact at all costs! Some would respond to my "Good Morning!" with a mumbled "Morning" as they rushed into the store, not even giving a glance. Others would walk past without uttering a word or acknowledging my presence in any way whatsoever. Quite a few even responded to my "Good Morning!" with a flat-out "No" as they walked past my table.

Two people in particular kind of stuck out for their non-donation.

The first replied to my request with "I don't even know how many times I've donated to you guys in the past" - and that was that. I didn't quite understand what that had to do with "now", but OK.

The second replied with "I work with special needs kids all day every day, so I already do enough." Again... I didn't quite understand that. Does working a particular job for a particular cause mean that you cannot or should not be willing to give to another organization which is helping the same cause? It kind of confused me.

Most people I met, however, did give... and many were extremely generous. Most gave at least a dollar or two. Some gave whatever loose change they happened to have in their pocket. Some threw in $5s... $10s... even $20s. One customer came out with a strip of $1 scratch-off lottery tickets in his hand. He tore one off of the strip and placed in the collection jar. Later on, when we scratched it, it turned out to be a $5 winner... which was quickly cashed and the money added to the jar.

One gentleman, who wasn't even shopping at the store - saw me... drove over... pulled up in front of me... rolled down the passenger side window and called out to me to hand me several bills. I wasn't about to rudely count them... but on quick glance it looked to be around $20 or so... maybe more.

What's my point in all of this?

First and foremost - it's so wonderful to see how many people there are in the world who are willing to help out others they don't even know!

Second - it's kind of saddening to see how many people will go out of their way to "not" have to do so.

My rule is a simple one: "Give what you can, when you can."

For that reason alone I make it a point to have at least a dollar or two tucked aside in my wallet... and some loose change in my pocket - so that when such opportunities come my way, I can give what I can.

Another little "rule" of mine is to always have a $5.00 bill - or even a $5.00 Dunkin Donuts card or something like that - in my wallet... because you never know when you're going to come across someone who needs to come across someone like you who has that to give to them.

So that's my little "homework assignment" for all of you: Tuck a dollar or two in an easily accessible part of your wallet or purse... or make sure you always have some loose change on you. When you are blessed with the opportunity to toss that single or handful of coin into a jar to help someone, do it. And if you can, keep a $5 bill or a $5 Dunkin Donuts card on you... and make it a point to not let it sit in your wallet or purse for more than a month or so. Make it a point to find someone who needs it more than you do.

In short - "Give what you can, when you can."

It's a simple way to spread love... and that is something the world could definitely use a lot more of!

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