Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Joy of Helping Others

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" - Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one - Mother Teresa

Helping others should come naturally to us. Most, if not all, of us have have needed some form of help at one time or another. Living during the current recession, for instance, has affected many people.

Today, Saturday, June 26th, however, I chose not to focus on myself but on those less fortunate than I. As someone once wisely told me: "No matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone who has it worse." The Loblaws where I shop at was having a drive to help out the Ottawa Food Bank.

Between shopping at Loblaws and PharmaPlus and taking some things from my home, I filled three medium-sized paper grocery bags with items that included baby formula, diapers, canned goods, pasta and sauce, fruit cups, granola bars, and personal hygiene and cleaning products.

I had tears in my eyes when I told my husband, feeling particularly good when I thought of the formula and diapers for the little babies whose families were struggling.

Although I have volunteered at three CIBC Runs for the Cure in the Ottawa-Gatineau Region, I don't have time to volunteer anywhere at the moment.

Instead, I donate money to the important causes of mental health, freedom of speech/press, and cancer research when my financial situation permits me to do so.

Some causes I have proudly donated to in the past include The Canadian Women's Foundation's national Shelter from the Storm campaign, Project Tembo (Educating Girls, Empowering Women, Creating Project Sustainability in Northern Tanzania), The Snowsuit Fund (Ottawa), and The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Others, like an old friend of mine, donate their time.

A "self-diagnosed volunteer junky," she says, "I can't help it. If I can help, I do."

The three causes dear to her heart are music, providing face-painting for children with juvenile diabetes, and rescuing dogs.

I never really understood the meaning of joy, but I know that helping others has allowed me experience it. That and being married to my best friend and the love of my life: my husband!

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