Recently, we received a check in the mail from a Hays County woman. It wasn’t a huge donation, but she included a note explaining what had prompted her to send it in the first place. Her family had been going out to eat a lot lately – so much, actually, that they had started taking it for granted. It was no longer a luxury or a treat; it had turned into something that they just did. After realizing this, she wanted to make their dining experiences count for something. The check, she said, was for 10% of their last restaurant tab, and she intended to send us a similar donation each time her family went out to eat. Since then, we have received a few more checks from her with “10% eating out” written on the memo line of each one. The amounts vary – sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less – but the impact is always the same.
In the days after receiving the first “10% eating out” donation, we had many conversations about the thoughtfulness of this woman’s contribution. At the heart of the matter, and what stood out to us most, is the fact that she decided to continually pass her family’s good fortune on to others. This isn’t the first time we’ve been on the receiving end of this sort of gesture. More than once, with their children carefully placing canned food items on the scale in our warehouse, parents have told us about how they requested that guests bring nonperishable food items for us to their child’s birthday party instead of presents. In the end, the gift was a lesson about gratitude, graciousness and giving back – and that will last longer than any doll or video game might.
We’re in an interesting “business.” We come to work every day hoping to inspire and comfort our community’s most vulnerable residents, and we go home inspired by the amount of support we receive and the places it comes from. We’ve learned that people often want to get involved and make a difference but aren’t sure how to get started. In an age when free time can seem like a commodity, volunteering isn’t always an option for people who want to help. For others, dropping an envelope in a mailbox lacks a personal touch. We have also learned that people will find creative and unique ways to give our mission resonance in their everyday lives.
With that in mind, we drafted this short list in hopes that you – whoever you are – might be inspired too.
Little Ways to Make a Big Difference
- For your next celebration, offer loved ones who would like to give gifts the option to make a contribution in your honor.
- Decide to donate a portion each time you splurge. Whether it’s a percentage of your restaurant tabs, a set amount each time you make your favorite meal at home or another arrangement, it adds up very quickly for our clients. And instead of receiving a tax-deductible receipt each time you make a donation, you could request a single annual receipt to surprise yourself with how much you give each year.
- Donate the proceeds of your next garage sale. You can clean out your closets and give a gift to your favorite cause.
- Collect your spare change in a jar. When the jar is full, it’s time to donate!
- Make volunteering a family affair. Schedule time for your family to volunteer together. Not only are you getting involved in the community, but you’re also teaching your children about the importance of giving back.
Do you have an idea you’d like to share? Feel free to leave it as a comment here or on our Facebook page!