Finding Purpose Through Generosity
Have you ever been involved in a flash mob? It’s on my bucket list of life things to participate in a true flash mob scene. I envision bright costumes, the chorus blaring from the latest pop song that is trending, maybe we’re at Central Station or Times Square in New York, and there’s hundreds of us who just break out in perfectly choreographed dance moves. You’ve likely seen these types of flash mob videos as they go viral on YouTube or Facebook. And everyone around them that is not participating is just LIT UP with joy.
Well while I still seek out opportunities for dance flash mobs (if you’re Seattle local and interested, DM me), I am beginning to understand that flash mobs can be like mini giving circles, and everyone does their one little part which is super cool, but when it’s put together with hundreds of others, all of a sudden you’re a THING and greatness ensues.
This year at Christmas, I wanted to make a similar splash. Through a series of circumstances where foster care was heavy on my heart, I found a contact at a local organization and reached out to find out what the needs were. I was hopeful that she could assign me one family that I could help support locally for whenever they got new foster kid placements and we could ultimately build a relationship. I’d support my one family and that would be it. Well after talking with the agency, she began to share even bigger needs and more holistic needs that the kids and families they serve needed.
One of those needs was jammies. And my immediate response was FUN! I LOVE me a cute kiddo in some Christmas jammies. And the vision for the Big Jammie Give was born.
Communities of Flash Mobs
I knew that most mamas love the picture each year that they take with their kids, and cousins, in matching jammies. This was going to be an easy ask. So I drafted up a little graphic, put it out on my social media, posted it in my local neighborhood Facebook group, even contacted a few other local influencers to get behind it, and voila – the Big Jammie Give was born.
This was a simple ask! Can you donate just one pair of jammies for a kid in local foster care? Oftentimes, when these kiddos get placed into foster care, they come with little to nothing of their own belongings and putting on a fresh pair of jammies is like the hug from someone who cares that first night when they need it most.
Well, our Big Jammie Give was quite successful. People WANTED to give! And not that I was surprised, but people wanted to give to a need that helped others. We all do! More often than not, I have found that people want to support and help others in need. Giving of our time and our resources is one of the number one ways to reduce stress and give meaning to our lives. And who at the holidays doesn’t need reduced stress?!
Together, through hundreds of physical donations (I collected them on my doorstep), and online money donations, we were able to collect almost 300 pairs of pajamas for local foster kids.
One of the coolest parts for me was to see the transformation for my kids at the holiday season. Because I have all my presents wrapped early, we don’t typically have a ton of gift-focused stuff that my kids are anticipating throughout Christmas (this is on purpose of course). But everyday, I’d put out a basket for the jammies. And inevitably someone would come to the door to drop them off, or Amazon packages would arrive. At first, my kids were excited to see all the packages – PRESENTS!! Ultimately to be disappointed that ugh, they were just jammies for foster kids.
But by the end of the couple of weeks that we collected jammies, their sadness and disappointment with each ring of the doorbell shifted, and turned into excitement and joy. Doorbell would ring and they would yell MORE JAMMIES and squeal with excitement as they fought over who got to open the door and then open the package. They watched the pile grow, helped me tie little ribbons on each pair, we dreamed about who would get to wear them, and their hearts grew. They began to see and understand what giving outside of themselves does for others, but also for their hearts.
Be The Firestarter
I had no special skills, I had no special inside connection or information to do this pajama flash mob. I simply had a desire to do something in an area that I cared deeply about, and gave it some feet. I found the need simply by connecting, I made the ask from my people, and truly the thing caught fire all on its own – it just needed a spark.
Here’s the thing: I know that we all crave purpose and I know that we all ultimately want to help. But sometimes, we have to be the ones to find the need. Sometimes the need will fall into our lap. More often than not though, because we are busy and not looking for the need, we have to train our eyes to LOOK for these needs and be willing to meet them. You don’t have to have a million dollars…in this case, it only required you to have $5. Yes, we personally donated several pairs, but honestly the joy was in seeing everyone come together and pitch in what they had to give. The mountain and trunk full of jammies was not from me – it was from EVERYONE! One pair or 20 pairs – all of it mattered and added up together made a giant dent!
I received a Thank You card from the organization last week along with a picture (that I can’t post online) of the distribution of the jammies. Caretakers of these foster kiddos were so blessed to have fuzzy new pajamas to offer their little ones! There were enough for not only everyone in the Northwest this agency serves, but there was a surplus to keep for future kiddos.
My one little spark plus everyone else’s hands equaled an ABUNDANCE for these kids.
What is the cause in your life that you already care about? What would it look like if YOU reached out to ask what sort of help they needed?
And then didn’t carry that burden of fulfilling that need BY YOURSELF, but rather invited your people into it to meet the need with you.
Generosity gives us purpose. Gathering with our people gives us connection. And showing our kiddos experiences outside of themselves gives them joy and gratitude.
It doesn’t require anything big…a fire just needs a spark.
Will you be that spark today?