I was pulling into the parking lot at work the other day, and I had this crazy idea…
What if there was only one homeless person?
Now I know that sounds ridiculous, but I just thought, “If there was only ONE person who needed a home, wouldn’t most of us feel inclined to help?” Doesn’t that seem like a no-brainer? If you knew that you could help the one person who needed it, wouldn’t you do it? I think almost everyone would, I really do. Because it seems manageable. If one person needed a home, we would ask around to see if anyone knew of a place he could stay. If only one person needed a job, we would surely be able to suggest five people that she could talk to who had open positions. If only one person was hungry, we would take turns bringing him meals until he could manage better on his own. If there was only ONE person struggling in our society or our community, I really believe we would feel a civic responsibility to help. Helping just one person sounds easy.
So why is that when we are tasked with helping groups of people, we fall short? If you break it down, it looks like this: if every one of us who could help someone else, even in a small way, did just that, then as a whole we could make an enormous impact. I’m not claiming to be the first person to ever spout this idea. I know this is nothing new. People have been screaming this for years. Non-profits have been asking the masses to donate their time and resources since practically the beginning of time. But to most people, when they look at “helping those in need” it sounds like a huge task- a daunting responsibility – (because that’s typically how it’s presented to us to point out the magnitude of these issues, i.e. homelessness, hunger, poverty, etc.). We lose perspective when we look at it on only a large scale, and we fail to realize that our assistance usually DOES go toward helping one individual…and on that scale it feels much more personal – and much more doable.
For example, Clothes That Work is hosting an event in March called The Fairy Godmother Project that will allow girls in need of prom dresses to go in and try on dresses, hoping to find the perfect dress to make them feel like a prom night princess. During the weeks prior to the March 17th event, CTW and several area partners are collecting prom dresses from women (like me) who have them hanging in the back of the closet from years ago…Someone suggested I use my store as a drop zone for people to bring in their dresses, and I jumped at the chance to get involved. It’s such an easy way to make a difference, and hopefully people will step up and join in the effort by digging through their closets and bringing in their own prom treasures to help make the day of a young lady in need. Your one dress will go to help one lucky girl – see the impact? Getting involved in something bigger than yourself doesn’t take much – I’m simply putting out a bin and spreading the word – and if it makes a difference to even one person, it’s worth it.
There are countless ways one person can make a difference, you just have to pay attention. We are all important pieces of our world, and we all need to do our share. And one person might not sound like a lot, but if you take one and add another “one”, and another “one”, you end up with something huge. See where I’m going with this?
Here are a few suggestions I received from my friends on Facebook today when I challenged them to think of their favorite “easy” way to give back:
- Donate Blood every eight weeks
- Become a “Big” with Big Brothers Big Sisters
- St. Vincent de Paul (folding laundry or stocking the food pantry)
- St. Jude Children’s Medical Research
- Volunteer with A Kid Again (or give $5/month)
- If you’re a business owner, donate your own services, location, or silent auction items to charities who could use them
- Get your kids involved in the Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Again, I have to ask…if it was just one person who needed help, wouldn’t you jump at the chance?