By Mary Nader
When a local Payless employee saw some of the shoes in her store were on sale for a great price, a thought came to her: She could purchase some of these shoes and donate them to Fishline for its Christmas Toy Shop.
When she told her manager and the other employees about her idea, they gladly decided to join her and do the same.
As she shared her idea with her bank teller later that week, the teller was inspired and offered to help her purchase some more. Then the teller told her co-workers and they were excited to participate.
By the end of the week, 60 pairs of new shoes, ranging in sizes and for all ages, were on their way to Fishline, ready to be a wonderful surprise under the tree for many deserving Fishline clients.
A friend of a volunteer, living in another country, heard of the good works being done at Fishline and offered a donation. Writing a check to our volunteer, the far-away supporter came up with a nice twist, recommending that our volunteer seek out the greatest need at this moment and use the money for the most pressing client problems.
After our volunteer talked to others about this generous act, they added to the donation with their own, intrigued by the ways this seed of kindness could do good. Before she knows it, our volunteer has more money, material donations and even piles of firewood left on her porch for distribution.
A school bus is parked at a local school, but this one isn’t being used to transport students. It stands at the ready, accepting donations of food and clothing for at-risk youth. We hear that the bus filled up fast, donations compounding into more with each passing day, and by the time the campaign is over, it will be full, a testimony to the care and concern students feel for one another.
Generosity is contagious, it turns out. It sometimes starts small, an idea or a spontaneous moment that comes unexpectedly. But the human spirit responds to these moments of beauty, is nourished by them, and what begins as an innocent act becomes an influence that lingers in our hearts, spurring us to action. It is this wondrous dynamic that makes it possible for our community to offer solace and support to those who need it the most.
While the spotlight often shines on the elements of life that drain us, the violent or disturbing occasions that make us wonder about the state of the world, in the background often hidden from view, another story is being written. It is a story of kindness, of selflessness, of love for neighbor that is powerful, even transcendent. For every negative act, there are hundreds that lift our spirits and remind us that we have what it takes to create a community where love wins.
From our Fishline family to yours, we wish you a wonderful holiday season.
— Mary Nader is executive director of Fishline. firstname.lastname@example.org.