Monday, February 15, 2016

Bold Giving

I'm thrilled to be sharing the first in a new series of posts that will be focused on bold giving. In most cases, this content will not be fashion-related, but you can read my initial thoughts on why this is so important to me here. Throughout the year, I will be sharing ways you can reach out to those in your community and truly make a difference - my hope is that this series will encourage us all to be intentional about making an effort to serve & bring joy to others. If you would like to share how you've done this in your own city, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.  And remember to use the hashtag #boldgiving if you're sharing on social media so we can all get inspired with new ideas!

On Saturday, I had the privilege of hosting a Valentine's Day luncheon for 20 widows in our area.  Because this can be such a difficult holiday for these women to spend alone, it was a wonderful way to take their mind off of missing their spouse and treat them to a special afternoon of being pampered.  I was truly amazed as I watched them walk through the door - not only were many of them much younger than I anticipated, but these were some of the kindest & most grateful women I have ever met.  Each one made a point to come up to me and tell me how much they appreciated being invited and how much they enjoyed their time.  I can't begin to tell you what a blessing it was to see the joy on their faces and to have the chance to hug them and tell them that they are loved.  

I was in charge of helping a group of 6th grade girls, including my daughter, plan the event - the idea was to teach them to think outside of themselves & help those in need.  They were responsible for serving the food & drinks, visiting with the women who came & providing the entertainment (singing & dancing).  I did my best to keep things lighthearted and fun so it would be a cheerful time for these women who were grieving.  Though we chose to focus on widows in our community, I think it would also be a great idea for military wives or husbands who are on their own for Valentine's Day.  You don't have to have a fancy facility or a huge budget - I kept things simple, did as much as I could by hand & didn't stress about having fine china or expensive linens for each table.  Putting your heart into it is what will make it special.

The event itself was a bigger undertaking than I initially expected.  But, the real test came right after I had decided to do it, when I got an offer from a retail partner that I've worked with in the past.  They asked for me to come to NYFW and collaborate with them on an exciting project for my blog...but it was taking place on February 13th, the day of the luncheon.  I'm ashamed to admit that, for a split second, I considered backing out of my commitment.  I thought about how our family could use that sponsorship money to pay for school tuition, taxes, health insurance...the list went on and on in my head.  But then I thought about those precious women and the invaluable lesson these girls would learn.  And I knew what I had to do.  

Through this experience, I've learned that serving others isn't always easy or convenient.  You might be in the middle of a busy & stressful day when you come across a person who needs help.  Or you might have money set aside that you were planning on using for something specific, when you discover there's someone who needs it more.  We always get a choice - will we stop & take the time to show compassion or will we pass up that opportunity?  I can think of several moments in the past when I've had the chance to make a difference in someone's life, but I didn't - I don't want to have those kind of regrets anymore.  Bold giving comes at a cost...but when we shift our mindset from being focused on ourselves to looking out for others, it truly doesn't feel like a sacrifice.  It feels like a great privilege and it can bring tremendous joy to so many who desperately need it.


1 comment :

Merritt Beck said...

This is so amazing! Thanks for sharing your experience!

The Style Scribe