There are times when I look around me and wonder what the world is coming to. People are either too busy or too wrapped up in themselves to take the time to think of the needs of others. We are all guilty of self-indulgence to a certain degree and it’s perfectly acceptable. After all, if you don’t take care of yourself how can you take care of others?
Rarely, but at times, you will find the other extreme – people who only know how to give to others and are incapable of putting themselves first. This is very commendable, but probably not a healthy way to exist.
However, I am fortunate to live in a small community with a strong sense of volunteerism. As a matter of fact, our calendar is filled with volunteer activities this spring and summer. My husband works as the chief of the volunteer fire department, which is made up of twenty-five individuals. I can say that he gives a minimum of 10 hours a week to the department, and that’s during a slow week.
This year our fire department is hosting ‘The Shaved Head Challenge’ to raise money for childhood leukemia, so Steve is particularly busy getting ready for that activity which takes place on June 11th. This will be his 5th year having his head shaved, but his first taking the lead as the host.
In order to get the ball rolling, a couple of weekends ago, we organized a fundraising breakfast at the community center, and he has scheduled a car wash for another weekend.
I was fairly sure that the breakfast would be a success financially, but I was a bit worried about the helping hands. The Friday night before the event, we met to get the hall ready and to do some of the basic preparations. Around ten of us showed up and I started to become more concerned. How were we going to be able to serve breakfast to a couple of hundred people if we were only a few hands?
Sunday morning, we scrambled around the house, filled the trunk of the car with more supplies, and drove to the community center. When I walked in the kitchen and saw a sea of navy blue uniforms my heart soared with pride. They had all turned up in force.
The event was a success, both financially, and from the viewpoint of a community united to support a good cause. What really gave me hope was the sight of the next generation working alongside the present one, helping in any way they could. I believe that when a child grows up in a household that gives of their time, they will understand the importance of volunteering and giving.
The week after ‘The Shaved Head Challenge’ I will be participating in the Relay for Life, another fundraiser for cancer, now in our ninth year of participation.
We are definitely not alone in our endeavors. We are surrounded by people who have grown up in the community and don’t know any other way to live. And we are welcoming newcomers who are eager to join us. It gives me hope for what the world is coming to.
*** A.J. McCarthy is the author of Betrayal published by Indigo Sea Press