Luke 6:30 – Give to everyone who asks and don’t demand your things back from those who take them.
Gratitude Day 751
On Thursday this week, we packed the last Blessings bags for our local school district. And it brought such joy to my heart.
We began a Blessings in a Backpack program in our local school district six years ago. With a start-up donation and a prayer, a group of volunteers in our area determined to provide weekend food bags to students who might struggle with food insecurity within our community. The first week, we packed 13 bags and handed them out through the local school district. The program has grown over the years. During the first months of the pandemic, we handed out 85-90 bags of food each weekend. This past year, we handed out 45-50 bags a week.
When people hear about this program, they are surprised that there is a need for weekend food bags here in our community. Some people assume there would not be a need, or much of need. My experience is different. School staff share stories of how students and families depend upon the food. How kids do not want to miss Fridays because they want to get their food bag. Beyond food, our Blessings program is also able to support students with other needs as requested. Things that might surprise you but are desperately needed.
Right here in our local community.
Quite honestly, I believe most communities have needs that most people may or may not be aware of. We want to be optimistic that people are making it when they may not be.
As Hubby Rick and I made the rounds to each of the schools and delivered the bags, I felt like this was the most important thing I might do all week. Yes, there are other things we do, like getting grandkids to ball games and work and picking up things they need for school. We value the minutes we have with these kids and the smiles they bring to our faces. And yes, we even try to appreciate when something does not go smoothly.
But there just is something different about giving with no expectation of anything in return. Giving … simply to give. I am convinced that most any challenging day can be righted when we pause, breathe deep and find a way to give back to someone with no expectation. The world suddenly just feels a bit brighter, the moment so special and a welling up of gratitude in my belly because my attitude has shifted to a happier place.
I get it. There are lots of things that can get us down right now. Instead of focusing on the things that feel hard and difficult, how about we find a way to give back to someone with absolutely no expectation of anything?
And see what happens.
Seriously. I am convinced that each of us did one little random act of giving this weekend, we’d all feel a bit better about ourselves, our lives and the world.
Now, the “giving back” part does not have to be complicated. Require a big plan or a bunch of resources. It SHOULD be easy, spontaneous and FUN.
For a bit of inspiration, here are a few examples and suggestions of what you could do this weekend to give back.
Ken chose to give cut flowers to elderly people. And it made all the difference to the people who received the flowers.
Write a letter to an active military duty serviceperson.
Visit your local farmers market, support a local vendor by buying something and then giving to someone else!
Recently, a friend stopped by and gave me this cute little nativity. She had picked it up while on vacation and thought I would enjoy it. She is right!
Donate extra toiletries – any size – to your local food pantry. These are needed, as are laundry soap, dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels. You know, the things you use every day as well. Next time you are shopping? Buy two and donate one.
Your own wonderful ideas of how you can give back and make yourself feel like a rockstar! I would LOVE to hear something you did recently that made you feel so great.
In case you missed it, last week I shared 41 Ways to Have Fun and Sabbath this summer. I hope you and your loved ones will check many of the things on this list!
Have a wonderful weekend and let summer roll on!
For the wonderful feeling of being able to give back, I am grateful.
Holy God – Thank you for helping me rediscover that gift of giving back: a way to turn any challenging day or week around by looking beyond ourselves and giving back. Bring forth a way that I can give back this weekend and celebrate the opportunity to do so! Amen.
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