My friend planned a party this past weekend (fun times), and asked everyone to bring in a few wish list items for the Yellow Brick House, in lieu of gifts. In line with the idea of having a birthday food drive, this is another great example of how tangible gift-giving is an effective, efficient and thoughtful way to give something back to those in need. The tangible component allows the people selecting, bagging and offering the items, a more concrete opportunity to internalize their actions, which is particularly useful for young people. Involving kids in the process of choosing some donation items from around the house to include in a gift bag, then giving it themselves to the host of the party, is a great learning opportunity for them. Such palpable actions tend to stick a bit more in the hearts and minds of little ones, than monetary donations (which are also no doubt beneficial, but in different ways).
Donating canned goods, diapers, toiletries, clothing and other everyday items to shelters and food banks is such a simple and helpful task, but one that many of us may (understandably) forget to do amidst hectic schedules and busy lifestyles. This weekend’s party was a good reminder for me to get back to donating some items to a few agencies before the end of this calendar year. I thought that as a personal goal and reminder, it would be worthwhile to plan two simple social events per year (i.e., a get together with friends over dinner, a pot luck or a bbq with friends etc…), dedicated to collecting such donations. I could ask my guests to forgo the flowers, wine, baked goods and other tokens of appreciation, and simply bring in a few items for the given agency. It’s an easy way to add an altruistic element to social activities that would normally take place anyway. It’s also a win-win-win for all parties involved and a good reminder that even in places such as Toronto, Canada, there are many people and communities who rely on such contributions for their well-being.