So, anyway, here is what I did give away (in addition to the 4 items listed in the first blog post about 30 days of giving):
|Check out the coolness of this toy|
Plastic baby gate (Freecycled): I saw an ad for a gal wanting baby gates for her apartment because she wanted to start fostering dogs and needed to corral her new guests. Obviously, I support anyone who is helping dogs and the baby gate I gave away had this system for being secured in a doorway that my daughter was too impatient to figure out, so it collected dust in my basement instead.
Two bags of kids clothing and winter gear (given to a local organization that helps families in need): When you're raising a child, it seems to me there is a never-ending stream of clothing that no longer fits. Never-ending, I tell you.
Books (given to a neighborhood Little Free Library): This is one of the items I gave away and then thought maybe it was lame to include in my list of giving. I'm including it anyway.
1 lb. of coffee (donated at a local coffee shop): I went in to buy myself a cup of coffee and the kid at the cash register asked if I'd donate a pound of coffee, supposedly to U.S. Troops abroad. I did it. I needed to beef up my list but it also seemed like a fine idea.
9 monetary donations made to various non-profit organizations in Minnesota: A few years back Minnesota started this "Give to the Max Day" where people can make online donations to a wide variety of schools or non-profit organizations. I like it because I can do my donations all in one day, I don't have to field annoying calls from solicitors all year round and I don't have to remember when I gave last to some group. Somehow the number of groups I give to keeps growing. This year I donated to Secondhand Hounds (the rescue group I foster for), Pet Haven (rescue group that my former dog, Carson, came from), Leech Lake Legacy & Red Lake Rosie's Rescue (two groups that help round up dogs on reservations in Minnesota and provide low-cost spay/neuter clinics and immunizations). I also gave to the Friends of Hennepin County Library, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, People for Pride in Living, St. Louis Park Emergency Program, and Second Harvest Heartland. Dogs, books, homes and help for those less fortunate; these are things that matter to me.
Volunteer time, 3 different days: Twice I shelved books in the Media Center at my daughter's school, which is kind of the equivalent of pretending I still have my job from last year; one day I helped out in Martha's classroom.
|Unbelievably cute dog treats|
Donations to two dog rescue groups made as a result of my purchase of Howl-iday Hat treats from Treat Me Right, an organization that makes healthful treats for dogs and donates a portion of their sales to various animal welfare groups.
Several turtlenecks I passed on to my sister from my own closet: In order to understand the significance of this act of giving you need to understand my older sister. She wears the piss out of her clothes, which is both virtuous but also kind of sad. It's virtuous because she does not end up spending money on clothes she doesn't need and it makes her seem very thrifty and reduces her carbon footprint. However, it is sad because she is a grown woman with a professional job and she is still wearing items of clothing from the 80s because they simply will not die. The turtlenecks hadn't had much action in my own wardrobe lately, so I entrusted them to Cindi. It really was a charitable act on my part.
So that's what I accomplished in the actual month of November. That's either 27 or 29 items depending on how you count the dog treat gifts. You can see what I mean when I say I wasn't truly successful with my original pledge. I wasn't even going to bother with a blog update.
But I gave one more thing to a stranger yesterday that made me decide I was ready to write about my experience with intentional giving.
So I asked him, tentatively, did he want me to drive him to school. I said I'd be happy to take him because I was sure there was no bus coming but I didn't want to seem creepy. I'm not sure if housewives/moms in sweatpants shoveling snow can really pull off creepy, but you never know how this sort of offer might be perceived. He accepted. Once my daughter was on her way to school we walked back to my garage and set off for the high school. The roads were icy and snowy and the traffic was not great so we had some time to chat. His name was Abdi and he's a junior in high school. I asked him about college (he has many in mind) and he told me about his high school football career and torn ACL. He seemed like a nice kid and he reminded me a bit of my 18-year old nephew. If he was my child waiting around in the frigid weather with no gloves, I would hope that someone would look out for him.
On my drive home I thought about the 30 days of giving because a ride was one possible thing I thought I could give to someone but the opportunity did not present itself in the month of November. As soon as I wrote the initial blog about giving in November, I realized that December is also an opportune month for giving, it being prime holiday season and all, and I considered trying for 60 days of giving (or, okay, 61 days to be exact). But then I had another idea. Instead of keeping a contrived list of the things I give for a finite period of time, I can also just give any time of the year, as needed. My new friend Abdi might need a ride some other month of the year. Charitable organizations need my daughter's hand-me-downs regardless of the season. My daughter's school always needs my time. And it's not just that the need exists all the time. My ability to give is fairly constant, as well. It appears to be kind of my "thing," it's what I do. I am the go-to gal! Because I can be.
So yes, give thanks at Thanksgiving, give extra at the holidays, but most importantly, just give what you can, whenever you can. And you can almost always give something. If nothing else, give kindness. Or a fist bump. Someone will appreciate it.