As many of you know, I work as a graphic designer for a manufacturing company. Like many companies in Corporate America, we – when there are no visitors coming in – are allowed to wear blue jeans on Fridays. We make a donation for each casual item we wear: a minimum of $1 each for jeans, tennis shoes, and casual shirt. Of course, more is always welcomed, and several folks just hand us a $5 bill and say, “keep the change.” We then take that money, turn it in to our Administration office, and wait for them to cut a check to the charity we’ve picked for the month.
This Friday, however, was just a bit different. While we normally donate an entire month’s worth of our “blue jean money” to a specific cause, we found out a bit too late that the United Way was doing their “Stuff the Bus” campaign at our local Wal-Mart stores on August 1. However, we DID get a chance to use this last Friday’s funds to help out. And, because of the timing of everything, instead of Administration cutting a check and mailing it, I was given the entire envelope of cash and was told I could take it to the bus myself if I wished.
What happened still makes me smile.
My husband and I trekked out to our local Wal-Mart on Saturday, which hosted three buses, one each from three local school districts. Instead of just handing them an envelope of cash, we wanted to donate actual items.
When we approached the first bus, I told the volunteer where we were from, and that we wanted to help. She almost cried when I asked her what was needed, and with very little hesitation, she said, “BACKPACKS!” Although most folks could only spare a few dollars, several people still made donations of smaller items such as paper, pencils and glue. Unfortunately, the “large ticket items” – such as backpacks – were really hard to come by.
So, armed with my co-workers’ donations, we went into the store and purchased TWENTY BACKPACKS in various sizes and styles. It took care of little kids, middle kids, and maybe even some of the bigger kids.
When we returned with all those backpacks, you should have heard the volunteers’ response! They were overjoyed and amazed to see so many packs purchased and donated to the cause. And when I told everyone that this was from the individual employees of my company, they applauded and cheered. It’s like they were bolstered to know that someone else actually cared for the cause and wanted to help out too. You’d have thought we’d handed them each a thousand bucks! Sure, this donation isn’t very much on the overall scale, but it IS a drop in the bucket, and those drops add up. I wish people would understand that.
Please know that I’m not posting this to brag or for any accolades. I’m posting it to let people know that even adding a little part does to make a difference. Times are financially rough on everyone, but maybe if we all pull together, we can make it through it all.
I only wish my cohorts could see what I got to: very grateful workers who will be able to help the kids in our community.