So I turned the big 3-5 this year. I’ve never been age conscious but this year I felt a little weird. It’s only five years from 40 and 40 is like a milestone or something. You’re older, wiser and….older! I never thought that I was going to make it past 30 when I was younger, (I’ve always had a fear of dying young) so this year I gave pause.
I had a birthday party when I turned 30 at MaGerks Pub & Grill in downtown Baltimore but since then I have kept it super low key because I entered mommyhood after that and all of my freedoms have escaped me. Just kidding. (Kindof.) So as I thought about this year, I thought about having a party. As I thought about having a party, I thought about doing some kind of good with it because I had just gotten together with my girlfriend, Courtney and we gave a van full of goods, clothing and toys to Sandy victims. I thought about doing something locally since we already did that. I wanted to use my birthday for a good cause. So I talked to my bestie Tara, and we brainstormed. I researched a couple of the local shelters and called around. I settled on the Bea Gaddy Women’s & Children’s Shelter. They do some amazing work for the city and I definitely wanted to add to that. If you’re local, you should check them out and consider donating. They take everything minus large furniture and are especially in need of food right now because a lot of people are sending their donations to the Sandy Disaster victims. Of course we all need to help out anyone and everyone we can, but we mustn’t forget our home town folks. They usually give out food once a week, but since their stock is so low, they may have to decrease that to once a month. Once a month! You can utilize all the help that shelters offer but a mother with children will definitely need more help than that. They even mentioned maybe closing for a little bit if they have to.
This is a shelter that provides food, clothing and a warm space for women and children. They provide blankets and food for the homeless daily. They cook meals for the homeless and those in need for Thanksgiving and hold a toy drive for the children at Christmas time. Bea Gaddy’s family has taken over what she had started and her story is so inspiring. You can read her story here. She did so much for the people of Baltimore and paved the way for many of us to follow. She acquired numerous honors in her life and then was diagnosed with breast cancer. A fighter until the end, she died October 3, 2001 at the age of 68. Her daughters carry on her mission and we met one of them today, Ms. Cynthia. She is the one that keeps the Bea Gaddy Family Center page updated. Please ‘like’ so that you can keep up with everything they are doing. It really is inspiring.
Essentially, all I did was send an invite out and asked that everyone bring at least one item to donate. It’s not that hard with a list like that…..anything minus large furniture. One can of food. One hat. One coat. One blanket. All of those things plus 50 or so people and you have a bunch of stuff! Plus, there were some very generous people that brought more than one item, bringing bags or boxes of stuff. By the time Tara and I reached the shelter, there were 5 or so of us making 3 or more trips carrying multiple bags. It was a great haul. We took the seats out of my mini van (don’t be jealous) and the donations filled up the whole van. We are so thankful to all of those that participated and contributed. What a blessing and what a great thing when we all join together for a good cause.
The party was also a great time and it was good to see everyone that came out. I decided that I want to do this every year, since I will be having a birthday every year after all, and make it an annual event. There will be some changes though, like having it start earlier so that more people can attend since many couldn’t attend due to work and it being held on a weekday. There was a nice turnout but we want a bigger one next year!
It’s so easy to stay in your own bubble. That content space that you don’t want to leave, so that you don’t have to rack your brain about other peoples’ problems and worries. BUT…..isn’t it so wonderful to leave that space every once in a while, to share your life with others and use what you’re working with to help and do some good? To grow as a person? To learn?
I think so.
I KNOW so.
It doesn’t take that much to care and to offer your time to help make a positive difference. Every little bit really does count. And if you don’t think so, maybe you need to take a field trip and meet some people.
Let’s be like the message that drove Ms. Gaddy’s life and career:
“Let us share with those that are not as fortunate as we, care for the young children and help our fellow humans to stand tall with pride and dignity!”
Header photo credit: Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship, Inc.