I am a donator. I really enjoy donating things. Things like clothes, household items, things from the garage. Whatever I think someone else might find usable, I donate. I’ve been known, much to MP’s chagrin, to keep bags in the back of my car for a week or so, until I can get somewhere to drop things off. I donate other things too, like empty soda cans. I recently received a text from the mom of the boys I take all our cans to saying the boys had just purchased their own cow thanks, in part, to my donations.
I LOVE that feeling. Knowing some small amount of effort on my part helped someone else.
When we moved last year I probably made 25+ trips to a local charity that helps kids and has stores in the area I live to resell donated items. If someone had been watching closely I’m pretty sure they could have outfitted an entire apartment.
I come by this love of donating naturally. My Gran used to enjoy spending a whole day at what she would call Goodie Store Shopping. She would take her time looking at items and things people had donated and consider their story and I have a few things from her still that she just picked up and sent my way because they “reminded her of me”. They are treasures to me.
I think I enjoy donating for a few reasons. I like that someone might be able to use something that no longer fits or works for one person but might be the perfect thing for its next owner. I like the idea that maybe someone is looking for that perfect job or outfitting their house for the first time but don’t have enough money to purchase everything brand new so the items I donate lets them create that perfect outfit or room. I like that I am not filling landfills with things that are still usable. And deep down, I like knowing that things are given a second chance at being special.
This week I decided we needed a clean out. I know, huh? We just moved here a year ago and downsized by half, what could I possibly need to clean out? But like many of us know, stuff just starts to accumulate. I had some items in my closet that are now too big, (thanks to the Keto journey MP and I are on. Check out his blog about that here….. ). I also had A LOT of craft supplies that I couldn’t part with when we moved but that I am now realizing I’m not going to use after all. And I had saved a lot of my office supplies when I took my sabbatical earlier this year and now realize that if/when I do go back to work, I won’t want those things any more. So I began the process of filling bags for donating.
One bag, two bags, three bags, more… And I smiled. I love this part.
After filling a few bags, or more, I took them down to my car knowing I’d be out on Monday and planned to drop them off. Their hours are 9-6. I know those from memory. 🙂 I made another bag for a friend who crafts as well but in completely different ways then me and I knew the material would be perfect for her Gnomes.
Then Sunday afternoon I decided to clean out our pantry. (Maybe I’m nesting…MP is getting nervous). Since the Keto thing is going so well, (see MP’s blog above) I decided that all the things in the cupboard could be donated to a local food bank. After all, 5 boxes of pasta, a bunch of stove top stuffing, bags of white rice and some Jiffy mix are no longer on the menu. So I filled another large bag for the back of my car with high hopes of dropping them off Monday too.
So yesterday, on my way to Costco I went the long way around and pulled into the parking lot of my favorite charity. Sadly, a large sign and caution tape said that due to COVID-19 they were only taking donations on Thursdays and Fridays now. I don’t really understand the logic, but away I went deciding to try their other location the next day.
Today, I went to the local food bank whose hours online say they are open daily from 12-4. I arrived at 1pm. After following the signs around to the back of the building, and standing at the back door ringing the bell, twice, I saw the sign that said due to COVID they are only taking donations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Its ok, I was right near another location of the place I went to yesterday. They too were not open for donations today.
Big Sigh** “This should not be this hard, after all, I’m trying to do something good!” Followed by some frustration and if I’m being honest, a few choice words. Not that loudly though.
Again, I don’t understand the reasoning behind not being able to donate at a time when people are really in need. I began to think my efforts were being thwarted and maybe I was just making this more difficult then it needed to be and it could all go in the trash. After all, what good really are a few boxes of pasta and some clothes? My mind replayed the angry drivers, the pissed off people waiting in lines and the overall wound up, stressed out humans I’ve encountered since the onset of COVID has changed how we live. I thought about how Kindness seems to be needed more then ever but is getting lost in the buzz of frustrations and worry.
I paused a minute and remembered I have a choice. I can go back out tomorrow and again on Friday and make the drop offs. I have the time and the ability and the things in those bags will make someone smile or fill an empty tummy. Kindness shouldn’t be hard. It should be about who we are and how we want to impact our world for the better. Like the smile from the masked clerk at Costco who asks how your day is, or the overly zealous Dutch Brothers barista who really does want to know my favorite color. A smile, or a bag off clothes or food is a gift and I don’t want it not being convenient for me to drop off to change my heart about why I give.
Kindness shouldn’t be hard. We can choose it every day in how we talk to our kids or our spouse, how we treat the clerk at the gas station or our attitude when things don’t fit our schedule perfectly. It can be what makes us different from everyone else in the best possible way.
So, I’ll keep packing bags or boxes and I’ll let them bounce around in the back of my car until somewhere is open that will use them again. And when I do get the chance to drop them off, I’ll pass them along to who ever takes them and smile behind my mask knowing that Kindness isn’t hard.
Thanks for reading. I hope in this time when we seem overwhelmed by the negative, this blog brings a smile to your face. Feel free to leave me your thoughts below.