Giving teaches receiving

The benefit of waking up at 5:55 on a Saturday is the house is quiet except for Vader snoring loudly next to me. I had time to remember all the things I meant to do – the biggest thing was get donations set up at local food banks.

A year or two ago, I saw a clip of Tony Robbins saying he gave his last 10 bucks to a kid, and he had no idea what he would do next, so he just had faith. He came home to a check in the mail. It was the most logical thing I had ever heard.

I started donating to Pennridge Fish. Then, I added Manna on Main. Approximately 1 dollar creates 3 meals. For a 2 dollars, I can help another family eat dinner together. Whether it’s cleaning my house or feeding the hungry, I believe little bits make big change. I could give 10 dollars a month then, and I believed it mattered.

Evan got fired not long after I started donating, so I made more donations. A few days later, Evan got a new job that changed our lives forever, so I made more donations. When we were waiting to hear if we got the house, I made donations. When I get stressed about money, I make donations. When I’m struggling with depression, I make donations.

I buy extra food at the grocery store every time I go. We donated over 100lbs at the Campout last year – just from me buying extras.

As money became less of a problem, I added a few more charities – Be the Match, Red Nose foundation, RAINN, but I’ve been trying to remember to donate to my new local banks for weeks. I have food set aside, I have clothes, I just needed to figure out the who and the where. It has felt like a missing critical step in growing roots here. That Wednesday at the shore feeling has lingered until just now, when I set up my monthly donations. Now, I feel at home.

It’s such a simple thing that has made such a profound difference in my life. Donating reminds me I have plenty, more than enough to share. It reminds me to be human instead of a program. I don’t know if that’s the right word. But, I feel like the world tries to teach me how not enough everything is.

I know, though, happiness is only found now. In my coffee cup, in my AAH real monsters Jammie pants, in my dog’s horrid farts drifting up my nose.

I know life can change in a blink, I have gone from a tier 1 university on scholarship to sleeping on a porch, pregnant and wishing someone could help me. I have been at food banks collecting oranges and hoping for the best for me and the baby as my knight in shining aluminum flipped burgers at McDonald’s and never showered after. Many days, meals came from dumpster bound leftovers at McD’s at the end of his shift. Any time I go to McD’s, yesterday crawls up my nose and leaks out my eyes.

I have tried to escape that porch for almost 2 decades. I would go to the grocery store and spend hundreds trying to escape. As if somehow an overflowing refrigerator means I won’t go back. I would run our credit cards up trying to pile on good to hide the bad. I could call it Mania as much as I could call it Fear. Once you’ve lived a life where you don’t know how you get your next meal or the roof over your head is a favor…it is a journey of itself to let go of fear and realize everything you have now is everything you need.

The girl then could not have dreamed of the woman now. But, that woman can’t exist if it wasn’t for WIC cheese, government insurance obstetrics, and a drafty porch in the middle of winter. My new house is so different from my old porch. I say every day how I cannot believe this life is ours. The only way I can say thank you is to give to neighbors who may be on a porch or a sidewalk or suffering in silence. To help someone else get a bag of oranges and hope for the best.

I know all the plans, savings, whatever could be wiped out in a second of change. I could be afraid like I used to be, but I only have now. Then is gone, and what will be has yet to become. Right now, I have coffee, farts, fleece, and silence. A lifetime of fear and worry has been replaced by faith and gratitude – and it all started with 10 bucks a month to a food bank.

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