Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Making a Difference

In early December I started feeling the hard sting of missing my Mom.  It's always a challenge for me around the holidays to deal with the fact that we don't have her around, and December 17th was the two year anniversary of her death.  

During this time I always try my best to stay busy.  Which, is pretty easy when you have a one year old.... but this year (2013) seemed to be extremely hard on me.  The weeks leading up to the 17th were filled with a roller coaster of emotions.  I would be totally fine during the day, but by evening I would be welling up with tears at the thoughts running through my own mind.  I tried desperately to hide my emotions from Todd and Simone... and everyone else around me.  

Then I saw a quote.  You know when people say "it spoke to me"... well it really did.  It spoke to something deep inside of me that said DO SOMETHING WITH YOURSELF.  The quote was...

"When I do good, I feel good.  When I do bad... I feel bad.  That is my religion."  - Abraham Lincoln 

I decided that I wanted to do some good, and moreover... I wanted to take all of this energy that my mind and body were creating and make a difference.  Even though my Mom will never be at another Christmas gathering, I had the power to put her spirit into someones Christmas.

At this point, I decided that I would collect up a bunch of Simone's baby stuff, toys, and a few things that were just sitting around not being used.  Someone with a baby could put all of it to good use, and even wrap a few of the new items as a Christmas gift.  It wasn't much, but it was what I could do.

I posted on one of the resale websites on Facebook where people sell baby items.  I listed one item as free to someone who needed it.  There were many responses.  I gave the item to a sweet lady who had a daughter a little older than Simone.  

From there, I was contacted by a social worker who had several families that needed help.  She told me their stories and said that ANYTHING I could give them would help.  These families were truly in need... many of them with no pots or pans to cook in, they needed basic necessities like shampoo & conditioner, and they did not have any means to give their children Christmas gifts. 

I put the word out on my Facebook, to my friends, to complete strangers on the resale sites.  Then, something amazing happened, the response was nothing short of overwhelming.  Day after day I received donations for these families.  Simone and I were all over the valley filling up our car with everything from brand new toys, to bath towels, pots & pans, toothpaste, body wash, and gently used clothing and toys.  People were beyond generous.  People were supportive, and extremely HAPPY to be helping someone they didn't even know.  

By the end of the first day we had collected a ton of donations!
Simone enjoyed sorting through everything!
We also received emails from people who needed help, and from others who knew of families who needed help.  In all, we were able to help ten families!  All it took was one person connecting those who wanted to give and those who were in need.  Without the support, donations, and kindness of people I know (and most I had never met) we wouldn't have been able to accomplish this.

 After everything had been picked up, we sorted out based on ages of the children, and the needs of that family.  We were able to give more than just toys... we were able to supply people with items that also met their NEEDS.

Just part of the donations in my garage!

Loaded up on delivery day - Part 1!

Simone surrounded by donations! 
I wanted to share this... because I want other people to know that you can take energy from something that is draining you, and use it for good.  You can give to someone and make them smile... and in turn you will feel better than you could have ever imagined.  And, how appropriate... on the two year anniversary of my Mom's passing, I was living in a way that she could be proud of, and I actually felt better than I had all month. 

This is something that I would like to make a tradition with our family.  Todd & I have also talked about starting up a non-for profit company in my Mom's honor to go along with this tradition.  If you would like to help or be a part of this please do not hesitate to contact me at amyleedeehart@gmail.com.  

I hope that you will join me in your own way to help those who are struggling.