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Little things make a huge difference.

Sep 18, 2012 - 17 comments

I'm having a "day" and need to write this out.  

So many of you know I work in the Social Services.  My primary focus is poverty - that can mean homelessness or working poor, with everything in between.  I can tell you that the situation in my city (and so many others) is pretty serious.  The cost of everything is going up up up.  Housing, food, clothing, all of the basic needs.  So many hardworking families are suffering.  And so many that want to be working but can't find sustainable employment are suffering.

Most of us in this world love to donate.  Clothing, food, etc. and we typically do it around Christmas when the spirit of giving hits all of us.  But there is so much we can do all year round.  So, because I know so many kind hearted and decent souls on this forum, I thought I would list out what I see everyday.

I see women, children in tow, exiting violent households.  I see people that go to work every single day sleeping with their children in church basements.  I see overcrowded shelters.  I see people who want to work lacking the job skills they need, and lacking the funds they need to get that education.  I see people with very serious mental health conditions like schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder living under bridges.

Did you know that so much of the funding and help so many organizations like mine see come from the average person?  There are things you can do all year round that make such a difference in peoples lives.  Most of us are feeling the financial crunch, but it's the little things that can make a huge difference.

Most grocery stores have a food bank bin in their store.  If yours doesn't, request they set one up.  Buying one extra canned item to throw in there per person per shopping trip makes a huge difference.  Consider cleaning out your closets and donating items that dont' fit or you dont' like, but are in decent condition to a local shelter or agency.  Baby items are so lacking for so many. Baby clothing, baby furniture, even unopened formula can make a huge difference in a struggling mom's life.  Gently used furniture that you can't utilize anymore.  Feminine hygiene products are something so many women just cannot afford.  Consider donating a box if you can.  If you own rental properties consider renting one to a non profit housing program.  Toothpaste, toothbrushes, deoderant...imagine going on a job interview without having access to these products. School supplies and backpacks - most shelters need them desperately.

So many things you can do - and it's the little things that can make such a difference.  If you have the time, consider donating a little bit of that.  Mentors and just plain old common kindness can change lives.

Anyway, just thoughts.  Things all of us can do that are such little things to so many of us, but can truly make a difference in a fellow human beings life.

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by opus88, Sep 18, 2012
thank you so much Adgal for bringing this to all of our attention, as we who are managing go through our daily lives its so easy to forget how terrible a life it is for so many others out there.
I try to donate a small bag of non perishables each month when I buy groceries...I feel no matter how tough it can be at times that at least I am able to eat where some are not.
Another thing is I never ever throw anything away, most cities have an online site called FREECYCLE where you can list items you have to give away, and people list items they are looking for. I think this is just an excellent vehicle for getting your gently used items out there too.
We all need to help, no one in a thriving N. American city should have to sleep in a shelter or under a bridge, thats just disgraceful.


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by adgal, Sep 18, 2012
Opus, just the fact that you think that way makes a difference.  That bag of non perishables IS making a difference.  And I agree...the freecycle programs are great.  You also have a great program in your neck of the woods called the Elaho Ranch.  I utilized them once when we were renovating our property in Regina.  Check them out on line...fabulous program!  If you have any non working appliances...anything from a microwave to a stove, they do fabulous things with them.  I'm so happy you think the way you do...it's people like you that make a difference.  

I think I'm just frustrated today because the situation seems to be getting worse.  I agree...in our society no one should be living that way.  It's just not right.

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by Nighthawk61, Sep 18, 2012
The things that you've mentioned here are close to my heart as well.  There's a gentleman that walks around the neighborhood alot, searching for something good to happen. I often stop and talk to him, and give him 10 or 20 dollars. I had a woman come up to me and tell me that he was a "beggar" and "to stay away from him" she also asked "why would you talk to him?".  I told her that the gentleman was unemployed, and I knew what that meant."  We live in a somewhat affluent neighborhood, I couldn't believe that people who had achieved so much and were so blessed could possibly come up with a reason not to talk to someone who was obviously out of work, and feeling the effects.  It's like they were saying it's okay to donate but don't take the time to talk to anyone to see how they're doing, or ask if there's something that you can do to help.

Another thing that really bothers me, is the amount of really fine baby and children's furniture that goes out on the curb. Everytime I see it I get angry, knowing that these could well be donations straight to the needy. Why not put a free ad in Craigslist and Kijijji Ads offering them to a needy family, a new mother, a single mother?

So, Adgal, you've asked for your friends here to do something to help. So listen, I will do just that. I will pick up the gently used furniture and put an ad in the free ads and drive it over to anyone that replies. Okay? I'll make sure that I let you know when it happens too!! I really respect the difference that you are making Adgal, and your request that we help, more than we are.  I will make a point of making food and sundries donations. If it is at all possible, people should take up your request and help as many and as often, as their budgets will allow.  

God Bless You For Caring About Those Marginalized In Our Society.

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by Nighthawk61, Sep 18, 2012
Also , another thing. I've donated directly to a woman's shelter. Many times woman and children must leave their homes with NOTHING. It is a great idea to go to the source with donations, as well, as you mentioned, giving directly to shelters. The best of luck with your request Adgal. I've respected you for some time because you are such a good mother, it's nice to know that your loving kindness is not dedicated strictly to your own family. This is what the world needs more of.

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by adgal, Sep 18, 2012
Thank you so much!  You brought tears to my eyes. Can you imagine what our world would be like if each and every one of us did one thing every day just out of kindness?  And you are right, the amount of waste is just tragic.  So many places will even pick up just to get these items to people that need them.  

And kindness can even be in our very own neighborhoods, and doesn't have to cost a dime.  It could be just taking a meal to a neighbor who is laid up, or in need.  It can be something as simple as raking that elderly neighbors lawn or shoveling their walk way.  There are a million things each and every one of us can do every day to make a difference.

I will tell you something....even without the money you give that man in your neighborhood, the fact that you look him in the eye and speak to him with respect means so much.  A smile, eye contact, all of those things make people feel worthwhile.  And they are worthwhile.  Bless you for being you.

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by Nighthawk61, Sep 18, 2012
You know, I always seek out "those" people, I almost 100% of the time find myself in a very engaging conversation. Thank you for your kind words. I enjoy making a difference, but I could do more, and I will , thanks to your post.

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by opus88, Sep 18, 2012
Adgal and Nighthawk your both my hero's!!!! God bless you both.♥

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by adgal, Sep 18, 2012
Right back at you sister!  And God bless you too!  You deserve it!

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by Nighthawk61, Sep 18, 2012
You too my fellow Canadian!!! God Bless You!!

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by adgal, Sep 18, 2012
So thinking a bit more...and a few tips for you when choosing a non profit to donate too (be it items, money or your time).  I think it is important to ensure that there ideals are in line with yours.  There are so many good and worthwhile organizations to support, but do not be afraid to ask questions. Perhaps domestic violence is what matters most to you...or mental health...or addictions.  We all "specialize" so make sure that who you are donating too is a cause that means something to you.  There are also less then scrupulous organizations (sadly). So if they cannot or will not answer your questions, they may not be right for you.  

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by Nighthawk61, Sep 18, 2012
Great point.

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by opus88, Sep 19, 2012
bumping this up again hoping for more readers and ideas......:))

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by mandaszoo, Sep 19, 2012
Really lovely subject very close to my heart. Every single day I try to do something nice for someone. there is no other reason than it makes me feel good to make people happy. I recently raised money for our church, even though i am not religious. I offer to pick up shopping , taxi to appointments, clean etc . I have strong belief we should al help each other. Thankyou for bringing to our attention .

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by opus88, Sep 21, 2012
just wanted to post this write up under Adgals journal....it adds to what small acts of kindness can be done for others, also gives a list of things we can all be donating to shelters especially with our cold winter looming ahead, coats/socks/shoes/blankets......it all helps :)

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/winnipeg-bus-drivers-kindess-gets-international-attention-182852653.html

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by Nighthawk61, Sep 21, 2012
Thanks opus for the wonderful story about this Winnipeg bus driver!!! and Adgal for your post!! Kindness to our fellow human beings is such an important topic, and so inspiring to think how life for all of us would change if we all took up the call and regularly gave to a good cause.

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by Nighthawk61, Sep 22, 2012
God Bless you Mandaszoo.

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by sue68, Sep 25, 2012
I just sorted and boxed 3 large boxes of girl's clothes to donate - will give them directly to a shelter.  We have these large metal drop off bins at malls but, I heard those go to thrift stores for resale and the ragged stained 'won't get caught wearing them' items get sent abroad (they get paid by the pound).

Am sorting through boy's outworn clothes next and then our closets. We got alot of handmedowns and kids' items from sil ( we didn't have to buy much) so will be passing them on.  We get so much from sil who gets them from her sister - who is quite the shopper .We have too many toys so I"ve been selecting and putting the bulk aside to give away. The boys would rather play with what is in our weekly recycling bin - who needs toys when an empty yogurt containers, cereal boxes and toilet paper tubes will do ?

Sis is a flight attendant - got her to save me all those little soaps and shampoos - will pop those in too.  

Amanda , thanks for this call out - people need items more than Christmas or Thanksgiving season.

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