A thousand candles can be lighted from the flame of one candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness can be spread without dinimishing that of yourself. ~Mahatma Gandhi
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and today’s national day of service, what follows is a 2018 service resolution list.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my general interests and about how I can put them to use for good. I’m a ways off yet, but my latest, biggest dream is to learn more about portrait photography and acquire the necessary equipment to offer senior portraits to graduating high school seniors who might not otherwise be able to afford them. Once I started thinking along those lines, ideas came fairly quickly for how best to use my photographs for good. Prom pictures? Baby Pictures? Family portraits?
Since that idea’s a dream in progress, here’s some other service resolution ideas I’m thinking about for this new year:
Cooking and Baking
- bake and deliver boxes of baked goods to local community workers in service to others – it’s so easy to double the recipe and deliver an extra couple dozen cookies to the fire station, library, or police department
- bake and ship boxes of baked goods (and other treats) to our miliary in service – be sure to check out these websites for some guidelines and ideas:
- homecooking … for those without a home – our local church houses local families for week-long stays as part of a transition program from shelter to community housing, and home-cooked meals are part of the “welcome home.” Creating several nourishing, warm meals for a homeless family’s table is high on my list this year.
Collections and Donations
- Traveling? Dedicate a corner of your suitcase to those in need in the United States and around the world. Visit Pack for A Purpose to research community projects and local needs for your destination. Leaving a few pairs of shoes behind will make space for toothpaste, crayons, pencils, bandaids, and other much-needed supplies.
- Clearing out your closets? Check into who can best use what you’ve got. Sites like Dress for Success direct your donations for professional attire; Cinderella’s Closet directs your party-dress and formal wear donations for girls in need of a prom dress; and there’s a variety of organizations and retail locations collecting gently-worn business suits for men as well – a quick Google search popped up quite a few.
- Several years ago, our local food bank promoted an empty can campaign. “Nothing Cans,” symbolic of what’s on the dinner menu for the almost 150,000 people in our state who do not know where their next meal is coming from, could be purchased for $5 each. Since they’re empty, the cans also serve as donation banks to help put some food on the plates of the hungry in our state. I saved the can and fill it a few times a year with loose change and bills. Any can will do. Collect and contribute.
- This week our school will participate in End 68 Hours of Hunger. According to their website, 1 in 5 U.S. children struggle with food insecurity. Collections for this program strive to end the hunger these children experience in the 68 hours between their free lunch on Friday and their free breakfast at school Monday morning. Find out if there’s a program or organization like this near you.
Get Out and Give
- We’ve been mourning the loss of our beloved beagle for awhile now and thinking almost daily about adopting another rescue. While we work through that important decision, I’ll be checking into dog-walking at our local animal shelter. Why wait?
- I’m committed to training for some road races come spring, and I’ll be finding a few races to run which benefit needs in our local community.
- As our garden begins to bloom this year, I’ll be collecting small bouquets to bring to our local nursing home. My nana would’ve loved a small spray of spring on her bedside table, and I’ll honor her memory every time I drop by with a bunch of flowers for someone else who could use a bit of bloom.
- World Read Aloud Day is scheduled for February 1, and the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” is scheduled for March 1. Maybe there’s a school, daycare, or library nearby who’d welcome a guest reader?
- Visit Do Something to discover any number of do-able action projects … from packing “blessing bags” for the homeless to joining the elephant “tusk force” flagging ivory items for sale online … there’s a project for everyone.
- Leave a little surprise something special for someone who’s not expecting it … a bar of chocolate, a note of recognition, something green and growing … you get the idea. No reason necessary.
- Day Brighteners … a dear friend recently gifted me a powerful packet of teeny, tiny papers – each hardly bigger than a slip from a fortune cookie – and each one offering a moment of widom or words of encouragement from some of the world’s most inspirational minds. Each slip guaranteed to begin anyone’s day more brightly. It’s my intention to leave one here and there along my 2018 path, and I’m sure each quote will find exactly the right person at the most perfect of all possible moments. Go find Ingrid Goff-Maidoff’s One Hundred Fortunes and other inspirational gifts… and pass a little love along!
Spread love everywhere you go. ~ Mother Teresa
Bless us all with your ideas for the greater good … and let’s light a thousand candles!