Friday, September 4, 2015

rallying with your community

 The small community in which I live is still reeling from tragic news about a murder a few days ago. To make matters worse, a young woman then played a hoax on local law enforcement, faking a situation in which police were called in from different towns, search dogs were brought in, and police helicopters were flying overhead. It is very unnerving when you are led to believe that armed criminals are on the loose in your neighborhood and being looked for, especially at night.


I had stayed up half the night, too afraid to go to sleep. I kept my ears glued to the police scanner while I kept up conversation with locals on a community Facebook page. 


Someone joked on the Facebook page that we all needed to meet in person and have a beer when it was all over. We didn't do so, but small meet-and-greet events have been put together in the past. A local businessman set things in motion last year with bringing the community together, and now several other small business owners have chimed in. We've met for tacos at local restaurants, there's now a weekly evening get-together over milkshakes at a local confectionery, and there's been different fundraisers and drives throughout the past year.
 
  
It doesn't take much to help others less fortunate than yourself, especially in your own community. We are not wealthy by any means, but it doesn't take a lot of money to help others. Food pantries always need donations. Go through your cupboards and pantry and donate some extra food. Or, each time you go grocery shopping, pick up a few extra staples and stash them away until you have a few bags to donate. If your community has a holiday clothing and coat drive (which mine did last year), clean out your closets. You could even pick up an extra coat or two at a thrift shop. Again, you don't have to have or spend a lot of money to help! An animal shelter in a nearby town lists their current needs on their web site. It only adds a few dollars to your grocery bill to buy a bottle of bleach and some paper towels. You could spend more money than that on a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

 Last month, the local businessman I mentioned above coordinated a school supply donation drive. As I did my normal shopping, I picked up crayons, pencils, markers, notebook paper, folders and index cards. My cost was $10 and a few minutes of my time. Volunteers then put together donated backpacks full of school supplies for local kids.


 My husband and I have also recently picked up extra corn and peaches at the farm stand and delivered them to a widow in our community who doesn't have a car. People had been posting on the community Facebook page about the delicious corn that was ready at farm stands and this woman had said how she'd love some corn, but didn't have a way of getting any. Again, only a few minutes of our time and a few dollars. What I got in return was the privilege of meeting a lovely human being, getting a big hug, and a lot of gratitude. You can't put a price on that.


 Just today, a young woman in our community took the courage to ask for help on the Facebook page. She and her young daughter were hungry. I won't get into the particulars of her circumstances, but another woman offered to buy the young woman some groceries and deliver them to her. (The young woman also does not have a car.) That got the ball rolling, and several other people had said they would help - including myself. I went through my pantry, cabinets and refrigerator and came up with two bags full of groceries that I could part with.


I am feeling thankful and proud to be part of such a caring community. I truly believe that what comes around, goes around. And that in blessing others, we will be blessed. One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa: "We can do no great things; just small things with great love."
 

 Have a beautiful and safe weekend!



18 comments:

  1. I am thankful that your community is united. In a world that at times seems to be disconnected it is encouraging to hear stories of unity and helping one another. Giving from our hearts is one of the very best feelings in the world.
    Have a pleasant weekend, Melanie.
    Jemma

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  2. You have a good heart---I hope your post gets others to do what you are. I do much the same a few times a year with our church.

    And I hope they catch these creeps who took away the life of such a fantastic guy---a law enforcer. My God---will the taking down of police officers ever end?

    Jane x

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  3. I would have titled your post Small Things With Great Love.

    It is all the little things we do that add up to loving and caring for one another. And you are right, so often those little things take such small effort on our party.

    Your photos are lovely.

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  4. Compassion is a great virtue and you definitely have this Melanie. Helping one's community is always so wonderful for both receivers and those of us who give - it's what life is all about.

    Enjoyed your beautiful pix too.
    Have a really nice holiday weekend.
    Hugs - Mary

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  5. You have such a big heart, Melanie! Those get togethers sound wonderful.
    Brenda

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  6. I'm sorry to hear of the tragedy in your community, Melanie. Feeling fearful is not the way you want to live your life. How wonderful that you live in a community that cares so much about its citizens. I love all of your suggestions and thank you for reminding me that it only takes a little time and very little money to help someone out. Bless you!

    xo
    Claudia

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  7. You're so fortunate to be part of such a caring community. I wish I could say the same for the one I live in, but the problems here are of a magnitude I've truly never seen anywhere else. I try to help whenever I can because it's important to me. I'm sorry times have been so difficult in your community lately and I hope everything settles down again. You are very kind and compassionate and they are lucky to have someone like you.

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  8. A wonderful reminder of how doing a little can mean such a lot. xx

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  9. Well now, Ms. Melanie! That has to be one of the best posts you have ever written. Meaningful and heartfelt and when I got to the end I had goosebumps. It is an awesome thing when folks can come together to do simple things that have big impact. God bless you all abundantly. :)

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  10. Giving back is one of the easiest things we can do, Melanie. This is a great reminder to think of those less fortunate then ourselves. I truly experienced a few joyful moments yesterday at my garage sale when I gave an infant car seat, booster seat, and several other children's items to a young mother in need. I have suggested at work that rather than gift exchanges at Christmas, we should bring items for the local food shelf. Who needs more trinkets at our age, right? Wonderful post.

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  11. Melaniw what a beautiful and inspiring post !! :)

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  12. When I heard about the tragedy I wondered how close it was to you. Such a nice post and glad to see you could go out and meet new people. We all need to help each other. Hope they catch them soon!

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  13. You're such a good and caring person, Melanie. An inspiration for sure :)

    (((hugs)))
    rue

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  14. Very inspiring post! Your community is very blessed to have such a caring and giving member like you. Have a wonderful week!

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  15. Hello Melanie, I've just discovered your lovely blog. It was great to read how you are helping those in the community. We try to do our bit too but I know we could do way more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos. Best wishes, Fiona

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  16. We had a scary incident in our town this week, too and through Facebook, people came together to offer support, condolence, friendship and help to one another. Sometimes it can be a wonderful tool to unite people in real life. I am sure that your kindness made a difference in the real life!!

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I read and appreciate every comment!