This week I sponsored one of my office's annual fundraisers for our Food Bank...Pumpkin Daze. Yeah, I know the spelling's kinda cutesy, but it sticks. The manager of a local grocery store orders huge whacks of pumpkins for the weekend before Hallowe'en...big garantuan cardboard crates, almost as tall as me! I spend from noon til 4:00 P.M. taking donations for the Food Bank in exchange for a free pumpkin.
Usually, I have to fill the child seat area of a grocery cart with food, as seed, to make people remember what I'm doing there...this year was different, somehow. After setting up the RE/MAX banner, wheeling over a couple of grocery carts and stashing my lunch and a thermal mug of tea in a small crevice between the fruit stands, I went to the condiments section to fill a couple of grocery bags with food...and before I could do that, there were people at the display, wanting to make donations!
This year was different...a single mom and her 2 little girls came with bags of groceries, telling me that they had made special effort to bring their donation in...the mom was using this as a teaching tool for her children. She told me they have been waiting for my Pumpkin Daze, and looking forward to it...counting sleeps til today!
This year was different...a little 8 year old boy came over to me. Fishing some crumpled bills out of his pocket, he shyly handed me $5, and went to choose his pumpkin. I know that the little guy made this money shovelling sidewalks with his older brother...I know,'cause they are my grandsons.
This year was different...a kind-hearted senior on very limited income, donated very generously...maybe more than she could afford. She wouldn't take a pumpkin, asking me instead to give it to the next family who came through.
This year was different...there was a lot more spontaneous giving, more people talking with me about the value of food banks, and more people coming in with their donations all ready, without me having to ask them if they'd like to give.
Maybe it's the realization that this world is not as safe a place as we thought, I'm not sure. Whatever it was, I'm grateful...and the volunteers at the food bank were ecstatic.