Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Power of ONE

by Lisa Hughey

I’m going to talk about something near and dear to my heart today.

The power of ONE person...to make a difference. I’m a firm believer that every gesture, every action, every gift of our time and attention has an influence on the world.

We have a responsibility to our fellow humans, to our community, to the Universe to give our all. I think we can get caught up in our own lives and dramas and forget the world around us. It’s understandable, it’s human. I also think sometimes it’s easy to dismiss a small gesture because after all we aren’t Mother Theresa, dedicating our life to another’s cause, we’re just a poor schlub with a lot of problems and worries of our own.

But the reality is that there are many ways to make a tiny difference.

My daughter and I are involved in an organization that makes it easy for us to volunteer both our time and our money (what little we have :) ) to various causes. If you can find an organization that has meaning for you, then consider focusing your benevolent attention for one cause. But if that won’t work, you can still do plenty of small things on your own.

Below are a few quick and easy things that you can do with very little time or effort.

Consider cleaning out your closet and giving clothes you no longer wear to your local hospice, church, charity thrift shop. The clothes need to be clean with no rips, tears or stains. These organizations frequently support people right in your own neighborhood. My mother-in-law and my grandmother received hospice help in their states when I lived far away and was unable to be there. Now I donate my clothing and house goods to my local hospice knowing that I’m helping someone else’s family.

If your teenager is having a birthday party, encourage the guests to all bring a can or two of food for your local food bank. Usually if you coordinate with the food bank, you can get a donation container delivered and picked up to your location. Last year my daughter and her friend collected over 200 lbs of food for our local food bank. The number of people requesting aid from their local food banks is up incredibly in our current economic crisis and you might be surprised at some of the people who are asking for help.

Donate old books to your local library, or consider mailing them to libraries in areas struck by natural disasters. If you don’t want to part with your books, buy one book by a favorite author and send it to them. What power to give the gift of reading a beloved author to someone else.

Did you have to change the prescription on your glasses the last time you went to the eye doctor? Donate that old pair to either the Lions Club or Unite for Sight (they distribute glasses in 3rd world countries in areas where people normally don’t have access to or the ability to pay for eyeglasses). I know how good I feel every morning when I put on my glasses and can see. Imagine giving that gift to someone who has been living without ever being able to see properly.

If donations aren’t your thing, consider donating your time to a fundraiser or event. There are so many events that rely on volunteers in order to happen.

If you can, choose an organization that has meaning for you. Go to their website and find out how to become a volunteer. Some to consider: Challenger Baseball, Special Olympics, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Concours d’Elegance (for this particular event the recipient of the charitable proceeds varies by location).

The amount of satisfaction that you will get from a few hours worth of time is immeasurable. Especially when you consider that one simple gesture can make a change for the positive in a stranger’s life.

Embrace the power of ONE!!!



Rachael Herron said...

Inspiring. I have to get my butt in gear and do this -- esp. moved by the hospice ideas. They're an insanely great organization. You are a force to be reckoned with! :)

Mysti said...

Brilliant ideas, all! Thanks for these.

I'm lucky enough to work for a company that lets us donate 4 hours a month of company time to the charitable cause of our choice. I do wish more companies did this--quite the team-building exercise to help finish a Habitat for Humanity or build a school in Mexico...

L.G.C. Smith said...

Brava, Lisa. Thanks for this. :)

Lisa Hughey said...

R--another thing to remember about Hospice thrift stores is they need people to buy the things in the store as support too!! :)

Mysti--I cannot wait to do Habitat for Humanity. Princess has to be 16 to work on houses but as soon as she is able we are signing up. I *love* the fact that your work supports community service. That rocks.

L--any time :) Here's another cool thing. Our org does fruit gleaning in the fall for people who have fruit trees etc but can't can or don't have the capability to use the fruit anymore. We go in, harvest the fruit and then it is sent to the local Food Bank. :)

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