Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Best Calorie Free Treat

Yesterday, after I left the gym, I stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries. On the way out, I saw this homeless man and he asked me for some change. I literally only had 32 cents.

32 cents is not going to get anyone any where or any thing.

I said, "Are you hungry, do you want a sandwich?" He looked completely shocked. "Yes," he said. "Turkey? Do you want turkey?" (I tend to take charge of things).

He said what he really wanted, and let me know I could get for the same price, was a Pizza Hut Personal Pan pizza... pepperoni.

I just thought... there was something so sweet about that.

I asked him if he would like a soda, too. Again, he looked at me with such a sense of surprise, it let me know the moments of compassion in this man's life were few and far between.

Lately, I've been thinking of all the things I have and how frickin' lucky and blessed I am. I don't even mean monetary. I have clothes, I have shelter, a hot shower every day. I have health care. I have friends who love me. I have a job.

We forget about the little things. Or, I guess I should say, we forget about the big things.

I did this little bit of volunteering and this girl emailed me saying I would never know what it meant to her what I had done for her. I told her - she would never know what it did for me. Just like that man yesterday, it totally filled me up...

So, it's right before the holidays and we are all hustling and bustling. But I wanted to give you guys some super ways to help other people that are easy and will fill YOU up and make you happier than 2 Twinkies and a glass of milk:

1) Ask everyone in your office to give you their old magazines. Then drop them off at a hospital, clinic or dialysis center. You will be loved!

2) If you're gathering friends for a holiday party, ask everyone to bring some clothes they don't wear and set them aside and then take them to a women's shelter. The women will act like you just gave them the keys to Macy's, that's how appreciative they are!

3) If you know someone in your neighborhood is sick, offer to walk their pet.

4) Tossing out some old sheets or blankets? Take them to your local pet shelter.

5) Keep a couple of McDonald's $1 gift cards and if you see someone who asks you if you can spare some change, buy them lunch instead. Smile, you just made someone feel like they matter.

6) There is a man who comes on my street looking for cans and bottles to turn in for change. Some days I see him with his 6 year old son and that breaks my heart. Now I keep my bottles and cans aside and give them to him when I see him so he doesn't have to rummage in a 4 ft. bin.

7) Do you have a winter coat you never wear? I think I have more than I need. You can donate your extra coat to a shelter, you can give it to someone in need (maybe keep it in your car, trust me, you'll find someone), also, there are winter coat drives - search for one online.

8) This is reader Noble Savage's awesome idea. "Last year I made up 15 Christmas packages for the homeless, each one with a pair of gloves, a scarf, a warm hat, a chocolate bar, a first aid kit and some toiletries. It was very rewarding and I got everything from thrift stores or dollar stores. The looks on their faces when I handed them a gift and walked away was priceless."

9) Sponsor a family for a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. Call a shelter, Vet center or search online. You can send an email to five friends and ask them to pitch in $10 dollars each. That $60 dollars will feed a whole family (maybe more) and make them be able to stay home and have a real family Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Have I overwhelmed you? Given you too many ideas? Well, you're in luck!

I'm going to give you the name of the shelter where I am sponsoring a family. I just sent a mass email to all my friends, so the hope is I might be able to sponsor 3 or 4 families. Feel free to grab an envelope, put ten bucks in it and send it off right now.

Here's the info: Amanecer Community Services Administrative Offices, 1200 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90017. Attention: Laura Gonzalez. Tell her the money is to sponsor a family for Christmas dinner.

You will feel so good making a difference, putting a smile on someone's face and most importantly, making someone feel like they are loved.

This blog is dedicated to little bits of love.

If you do something kind... even if it's in a week or a month from now, write back in and inspire us with your story.


Jessica said...

That's so awesome of you!

*aron* said...

those are some really awesome ideas!!! thank you for them :)

anji said...

A few years ago I was in Toronto at the pizza hut, and... they messed up my order. They didn't realise it until I was almost done eating my cheese sticks (with cheese, I didn't want cheese)... SO, they made me a NEW BATCH... like, dude, I was full! So, I had a big fresh batch of garlic bread and sent me on my way. I didn't want them... some guy at the subway entrance just outside of the pizza hut, was asking for change. I seriously didn't have any (i'm a poor student at the time!) so I asked, I have fresh bread sticks they gave me for free at pizza hut 'cause they messed up my order, do you want them?

He was like YES!

Yea, some people go spend it on drugs or alcohol or whatever... but some people just really want food.

Another time (also in Toronto) I asked this homeless chick where the College street mall was. She walked me over 20 minutes to get me there, and wasn't expecting anything in return. I gave her 20$. I had a job then, and I didn't mind. She was grateful, and I wasn't lost anymore.

I'm writing a book called ReDiscovering Humanity. You can find the link at ... i've decided to start travelling and just meet people, who have had good deeds done to them... or small acts of kindness that have changed their lives forever...

I'm richer in my spirit because of the kindness others have made to me... and i want others to see that humanity isn't all screwed up... there still are good people out there.

Tw!nkleTw!nkle said...

This is inspiring! when i was a little girl i used to LOVE to give money to the santa that rings the bell outside of the store. it made me feel so good! im definitely going to donate around the holidays. thanks for making me really think about what i can do make someones life better, especially now that the weather is getting cold and the holidays are here.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing this. Reading it actually made me cry.

Rene said...

Awww...I just wanted to say I love you right now...and I don't even know your That probably seems totally random, but peek at my "kid on the corner" post for details. Synchronicity...

adventure grrl said...

Hey Everybody! All your emails mean so much. They've inspired me to add the information of the shelter where I am sponsoring a family with my friends to the blog post so everyone can help.

I'll leave the info here so if anyone wants to send, even just ten dollars, you can feel like you did something amazing for someone else.

Contributions of any kind (remember, they add up!) can be sent to:

Amanecer Community Services
Administrative Offices, 1200 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90017. Attention: Laura Gonzalez. Tell her the money is to sponsor a family for Christmas dinner.

Andrea said...

What a great post! And how kind of you to buy that man a meal.

Thanks for the reminder. I'm all too guilty of letting the hustle and bustle of the holidays get to me.

Rhea said...

Oh Woman! You are a darling! A very kind and benevolent person. Its surprising how in our high-speed hi-tech lives, we mist out on these simple acts of joy and kindness. your post shook me and told me to get up and realize things which i had long forgotten. Be the way u r!

NS said...

Great ideas, thanks for the list. I'm always looking for little ideas like that.

Last year I made up 15 Christmas packages for the homeless, each one with a pair of gloves, a scarf, a warm hat, a chocolate bar, a first aid kit and some toiletries. I handed out a few on the street personally and then took the rest to a shelter. It was very rewarding and not expensive to do as I got everything from thrift stores or dollar stores. The looks on their faces when I handed them a gift and walked away was priceless. I'm definitely doing it again this year.

Surfergrrl said...

Great tips! I hope everyone in Cali also considers donating money to the red cross right now for the fire disaster. They could really use your help!

forgetfulone said...

Not overwhelmed. Inspired! thanks.

Michelle J said...

You are one amazing chica!!

I love all of the ideas. I have a ton of old coats that i am going to bring to

You totally and completely inspired me girlie!!! I mean that! Plus, i have 2 pairs of old running shoes that i am also going to donate!!!

Thanks for this! Love ya lots!

debbiedoesraw said...

AG, you never cease to amaze me, what compassion you showed that man, he will never forget your kindness I am sure.. I love your ideas and when I read it all my light bulbs starting going off, I can do most of them with ease, love the 1.00 mc d cards, that is brilliant and easy to do.
love deb

Anonymous said...

short, sweet and to the point: you rock.

Call_Me_Toots said...

This is so inspiring! My family has all decided to not exchange gifts this year. We are all so short on money and it will be nice to just enjoy the Christmas season without the stress of gifts. I think my husband and I are going to do just what you said and sponsor a family or do something for someone else. Why not? We always get so much out of this time I would love to pass it on.

Charmaine said...

You have inspired me.

Sometimes I pull over to the side of the road when I see the incongruous sight of an older homeless woman in my community. She is not asking for anything. Something about that moves me. She could easily be me if she did not have friends or family. I give a few dollars, whatever I have. What shocks me is when I don't pull over. My heart races, I know I want to but it's inconvenient, they are walking under and underpass, there is no place to stop, people will look at me funny. And then it disturbes me for days. It's like somewhere along the line we were all programed not to care or be ashamed of making a gesture that is not shamefull, but merely human. I won't let that happen again. Thank you.

JIMSIGHT said...

I am down to one half of one walk in closet of my wife's things. I have spent nearly three years giving items away. Boxes to shelters, Boxes to my housekeeper, boxes to recovery homes...

One woman's shelter actually asked me to stop bringing the "nice stuff" because the ladies were fighting over them. LOL..mostly they were fighting over the shoes...go figure..

If you see a Hispanic woman running across the freeway with a Coach bag in hand, more than likely it was in one of the boxes i gave to my cleaning lady...

Darts Girl said...

Hey -

I'm collecting new unwrapped toys and canned goods to donate to Toys for Tots and the NY Food bank respectively. I've asked friends and co-workers for these items and morespecifically for jars of baby food. When people think of donating canned goods for the homeless most people don't think of babies. But unfortunately there are homeless people with babeis out there and they can't eat the campbell's soup and creamed corn that most people donae. They need the formula or the jarred baby food. Whenever I donate food to the food bank ( 2 or 3 times a year) I make sure that at least half, if not more of what i donate is baby food. Just something to think about.

Thanks Adventure Grrl for spreading the word.

Charmaine said...

Thanks for your kind remarks on my blog. It's funny what happens when you are just honest.

I usually just try to be funny. But lately, not so much. I will take a another week or two. Then someone is going to have to kick me HARD in the butt. Cheers!!