Friday, December 24, 2010

to whom much is given....

5. Make a once a month donation to an organization that could use it  - in progress

Well, as of three days ago I'm officially 29.5 years old, so I'm OFFICIALLY at the half way point of this project.  Tonight also just happens be Christmas Eve (happy half-birthday to Shannon!!) so I think it's a pretty timely post.

I'm not one to spout of Bible verses, but this one (Luke 12:48) has always been a favorite of mine: "To whom much is given, much is required."  I don't think you have to be a particularly religious person to appreciate the charity of that verse.  Without going into a big speech of how blessed and lucky I am, I'll just suffice it to say, Sadira and I have a great life and are surrounded by great people.  I know a lot of other single mamas who have to struggle a whole lot more, and I'm not one of them.  We've got a great supportive family, and wonderful friends.  Sure, I'd love a bigger house, or a newer car, or even a flippin' iPhone, but what we have is greater than those material things.  I realize that we have been given many blessings, and with that comes the responsibility to give back.

This is the season of giving, after all, isn't it??

When I put #5 on my list, it was purposeful and thoughtful.  And since I'm coming up on the halfway point of this 30 Before 30 project I figured it would be a good time to check-in on my progress. 

So to recap:

July - St. Vincent de Paul Society's Mobile Clothing Bank delivers clothing, blankets and personal care products to the homeless in Baltimore City.  Sadira and I were able to pull together three huge bags of clothes and give our closets some breathing room.  Here's hoping they like Gap and BabyGap. ;)

August - August was an easy month!  With my office collecting grocery donations and personal care items for the homeless in our area, it was a piece of cake for me to venture down into my stockpile stash of grocery and personal care items I've stocked up from my obsessive couponing and pull together two huge boxes to donate.  And cheers to you if you made it through that insane run-on sentence I just typed. ;)

September - Gaudenzia's Women and Children's facility.  I risked my life and my sanity and with the help of extremely generous donors, we were able to raise $2,235.00 to send me Over the Edge.  A once in a lifetime experience (which shall remain once in my lifetime) that not only raised money for an organization that could use it, but also helped me to conquer a fear and cross #1 off of my list. 

October - After a marathon September, with my friends and family super-ceding my fundraising expectations, I decided to give back to a few fundraisers they were working on.  First, a donation to the Alzheimer's Association in support of my friends Erika and TJ who were walking in honor of his mom.  Secondly, a donation to the Dundalk Youth Service Center where my friend Mary works in support of their annual campaign.  Lastly, a donation to the Susan G. Komen foundation in support of Blanca, whom I joined while she Raced for the Cure.

November - Inspired by my experience volunteering at the Maryland Food Bank with my co-workers, I decided to kick off a Virtual Food Drive with the help of Baltimore Ravens.  I decided to support the effort by holding a yardsale, with all funds raised being donated to the Food Bank.  Several friends, including my awesome daycare provider, Janet, donated items to sell.  The yard sale combined with independent donations yielded $486.00 for the MD Food Bank, just $14 shy of my $500 goal!  I was very pleased with the outcome of the fundraiser, especially considering that the Food Bank can feed one hungry Maryland for one FULL WEEK on just $10.50!!!

December - There were so many opportunities for us to donate to worthy causes in the month of December.  Back in November around Sadira's birthday she asked if we were going to be donating toys again this year. Last year for her birthday, in lieu of presents (since Sadira's birthday is just several weeks before Christmas) we asked our birthday party guests to instead bring toys for Sadira to donate to Toys for Tots.  We talked about it, and she understood what we were doing.  I was actually very impressed because she really got into the idea and was excited about giving toys to kids who didn't have any. I was a proud Mama when we dropped them off at the Toys for Tots location and there wasn't a single tear:

Making her donation.

Giving the lady at the Toys for Tots drop-off a high-five.

So fast forward to this year's birthday.  I decided that Sadira could keep her gifts this year, but imagine my shock when she asked if we were going to give any "toys to the poor kids" this year.  We decided to use a little bit of Sadie's birthday money to let her pick out a few toys and make a donation.  I was really touched that she remembered what we did last year and wanted to give back again this year.  You can plant the seed in your children, but it's another thing to see it grow when they make their own decisions to be charitable.

So off to Toys R Us we went and picked out some toys that Sadie thought the kids would like.  Even better, we got them on a great sale, so we could afford to get MORE!

Sadie and some of the toys we picked. :)

I figured we'd donate to Toys for Tots again.  But then one morning, as I was driving into work, I heard one of the local radio DJ's talking about his daughter, Lilly, and how she came to him with the request that she wanted to give toys to sick kids in the hospital.  You could hear in his voice that he was really trying to convince the listeners that this was Lilly's idea and not his.  He was just putting her idea into motion, with al proceeds going to the University of Maryland Children's Hospital.  I could relate to this because oftentimes Sadira comes to me with ideas or says things that are pretty unbelievable.  Sometimes I don't even tell people, because I think there's no way they'd believe me.  Heck, I wouldn't believe it sometimes, if I didn't hear it for myself!  She's definitely wise beyond her three years.  And I got the same feeling about Lilly.  

It seemed a perfect fit.  A Toy Drive inspired by a three year old little girl, with donations from my own little three year old girl.  So that night I talked to Sadie about it over dinner at my grandmother's house.  We talked about how scary it must be to be stuck in the hospital, and sad it must feel to not be able to celebrate Christmas at home.  We both decided this was the charity for us.

So last Saturday--during the last weekend before Christmas--we braved the crowds at Arundel Mills Mall, after 30 minutes we FINALLY found a parking spot, hauled our bag of toys INTO the Mall, while everyone else was hauling their purchases OUT, and found the Z104.3 folks.  Here's the photo gallery of their event. (We're on Photo 25).

Sadie got a little shy cause everyone wanted to say hi to her and thank her for the gifts, but later when we got in the car she declared, "Mommy, those kids are WEALLY WEALLY gonna like our toys!!"

Job well done, Sades. :)


Rene said...

Maybe it's because it is 5:30 a.m. and I am a little sleep deprived, but you have me in tears. Again. Sadie is such a sweet, kind and amazing little girl -- and she has her mommy to thank!

I hope that one day Lillian can be half the kid that Sadira is :-) You inspire me to be a good mom.

Merry Christmas with lots and lots of love from our house

Anonymous said...

very heart warming :) You are two lovely ladies for sure!

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