This week our family had the opportunity to volunteer for the Calgary food bank during the annual city-wide food drive. Our job was to drop off bags earlier in the week and then collect food on the weekend from as many Calgarians as would donate.
Our family’s duties were:
– getting the donation bags we needed for our neighborhood,
– stapling a note with instructions on to each bag,
– delivering the donation bags to each house in our assigned area,
– collecting all the donations,
– leaving thank you notes to all those who donated.
It was so amazing and made my heart so full for all those who donated, but there was one house that really could have ruined this amazing experience for us.
As I was walking around collecting donations I saw one bag sitting on the door step that looked a bit full and heavy. In my hopefulness I was excited to pick up this donation, thinking it was going to be some much needed food for all those in Calgary who are in need. But on further inspection, I discovered that not only was there no food in the donation bag, but it was full of individually wrapped dog poop bags.
I thought, “this has to be a joke”, but then I saw the heart-shaped instructions for the donations stapled onto one of those little blue bags. This was intentional?
I was so hurt that someone would go through all the trouble to try and ruin this positive thing for our city. My husband wanted to do some mean thing back to them, and some others suggested some social media shaming, but in my heart I knew fire vs. fire just causes a bigger flame. So after we left that house feeling hurt and discouraged I felt like I should go back and just place a thank-you card on their “donation”. Yes, it may have been a bit passive or cheeky and I may have wanted them to feel bad about what they did, but also I wanted to show them that they there are others that made a difference and they could have been a part of that.
As we left the house the second time I felt happy. Not for leaving them with the ‘mess’, but for being able to not let this ruin my day. We drove to the drop off place (it seemed like we were the first ones to get there) and we looked at all the food we were able to collect and it was amazing. The donated food filled our SUV trunk and I even had a few things I had to hold up in the passenger seat.
I couldn’t believe it. The one bag our family donated was full of baby food and formula and I know that will make a difference to someone. What a nice and grateful feeling it was to be able to give the food bank all that we had collected from others as well.
At the end of the day, over 7,000 volunteers and around 205,000 kg (over 200 tons!) of food had been collected for the Calgary food bank. It’s so amazing to think all of our small efforts did all that. I couldn’t be happier! It’s humbling to know that my small family made a difference in our community.
I think in life there are people out there like the dog-poop guy that may discourage you or make your day ‘crappy’, but when we look at the big picture we did what we set out to do. We were able to fill the Calgary food bank with much needed food.
I could have let that one incident ruin my whole day (maybe even my week), but I not only chose to “kill him with kindness”, I elected to be enlightened by all those who changed the fate of many who may have gone without food with a nearing winter.
You can also change your day when you feel ‘crappy’. Little happy things are happening all around us: we just have to notice and let it fill us with joy. It is easy (and could have been for me as well) to dwell on the bad things that happen in your day and your life, but you don’t have to accept it. You can be happy if happiness is what you are looking for.
For more information about this city wide food bank check out this link:
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