― Piero Gheddo
“Why are...poor people more ready to share their goods than rich people? The answer is easy: The poor have little to lose; the rich have more to lose and they are more attached to their possessions. Poverty provides a deeper motivation for understanding your neighbors, welcoming others and attending to those who are suffering. I would go so far as to say that poverty helps you understand what happiness is, what serenity is in life.”
― Piero Gheddo
Here's proof of how easy it is! Take An Extra Bag friends showing the next generation how important it is to care for those who have fallen on hard times at Diakonia shelter in Ocean City, Maryland. Pictured here is Claudia from Diakonia who's anxious to meet you and welcome your kind donation for the homeless and struggling in Ocean City, Maryland. Please Take An Extra Bag as you travel this summer. Just. One. Bag. Thank you so much!!! http://www.diakoniaoc.org/
How about instead of gifts for secret santa or white elephant you spend that money and donate it to a charity that you believe represents the person whose name you drew? Say they have a pet? SPCA. Maybe they just recently had their first child? St Jude's. Maybe they are adults caring for their own parents? What about a donation to Alzheimers Foundation? You wouldn't even have to indicate how much you donated because that can always be a source of concern or embarrassment. Just "in place of a gift I made a meaningful donation in your honor to the Wounded Warriors Project." There are countless ways we can think of others instead of having homes filled with things that we ultimately seek out ways to get rid of.... or end up on Hoarders.... No, no, no, Take An Extra Bag filled with a donation in someone's honor that will live on forever instead of a 'thing'.
Another great place to Take An Extra Bag? Your local hospitals. Taking donations of clothing helps folks who are dealing with an extended stay, are working through the acute rehabilitation unit to regain their strength and ability standing, walking, and caring for themselves and this applies to children and adults. Take An Extra Bag of gently worn easy to wear clothing and help folks recuperating in the hospital feel more like themselves again while they regain their strength.
A church up the block from me has a message in their marque that says, "Feed the hungry! Bring in your extra home grown fruits and vegetables!" Bumper crop of tomatoes? Cucumbers take root and dominate your garden? More zucchini than you can make bread from? Corn sprouting strong? Consider taking a bag to your local food pantry with your fresh, carefully grown, raised-with-love produce to provide healthy food for folks in need. Sure, you could take them to your office to share with coworkers but you'd be doing so much more by giving that precious food to folks who NEED you! Take An Extra Bag of healthy produce when your crops come in!
What if #2... What if you have family BBQ's, birthday parties, block parties, or maybe you're even planning a wedding and you told folks they HAD TO bring one can of food per person to donate to the local food bank? How about a wedding with an open bar that isn't "open" unless you bring a can of food to donate? Maybe a graduation party, bachelor or bachelorette party in the coming months? "Bring your dancing shoes and a nonperishable food item to donate to our local food bank!" Tailgating plans in the fall? Holiday parties at home or at work? Oscar parties? New Years Eve parties? Make it a habit, including it in each invitation so that your guests become programmed to your requests, community based compassion, and KNOW that they better step up to the plate! Bring a dish to pass and one food item. It's so stupid easy, right? One can, one box, one bag... it's doable. We just have to do it!
What if.... what if you started a "Christmas In July" collection drive at work? You and your coworkers could select a worthy organization near you and start collecting NOW for their holiday toy drive! It could totally work! You could post signs in the break room, at the water cooler, on the bathroom doors, and share your idea at the next staff meeting asking people to donate one new toy over the summer. Just one. And, if you work someplace where you have clients or regular visitors, encourage them to join in! "Next time you come up would you consider donating a toy to our Christmas In July Toy Drive for ABC charity?" Maybe you work in a restaurant with regulars, a doctors office with folks coming in weekly or monthly, a corporate office where your satellite offices meet up regularly, what about an environment where there are kids who would learn so much from becoming involved in giving to less fortunate children? This could make a HUGE difference in the hearts of some awesome kids. Be the idea person! Be the motivator! Wear your heart on your sleeve and get busy! And if you think I can help - reach out! I'm here!
MAINE! Kittery, Maine is looking for angels to provide supplies or "One Warm Night" to one of their 12 temporary residents at Fair Tide, Inc. They provide transitional housing and workshops to residents to teach accountability, financial stability, emotional health, and future planning. "Seventy–nine percent of former Fair Tide residents have gained the skills necessary to live independently and continue to maintain permanent housing today!" They are currently collecting back to school supplies for the children at their facility to be "armed and ready" for learning and they are always collecting monetary donations to provide one warm night! Please Take An Extra Bag if you're near Kittery,Maine and help Fair Tide, Inc continue their amazing and transitional work! http://www.fairtide.org/
Kari Stiles, RN, BSN, WCCN, CRRN. Philadelphia Metro Area, Pennsylvania.