A neighbor turned fifty yesterday. The fact that it was her birthday, much less her fiftieth, had completely escaped me. The invitation was for a ‘Party Benefiting the Local Animal Shelter’. Attached was a long wish list of items needed at said shelter. Thinking this was a fun idea, I bought one of everything and headed to the neighbor’s.
True to form I was late. As I pulled up, two SUV’s (with seats either removed, or folded over) were already being loaded with items from that wish list. One of the men loading the cars was the director of the animal shelter. Happily I handed him my bags. Gratefully he accepted them. Then I turned to enter the house. There was not a square inch of free space between the driveway and the house. There were bags upon bags of dog food, treats, kitty litter, Clorox, laundry detergent. It was like a WalMart yard sale. The SUV’s took off, only to return twice to clear out the yard.
The party was an enormous success, and a brilliant idea. It raised nearly $5,000, not to mention six car-loads of aforementioned items, and awareness. Only when the husband presented his wife with a sold gold heart necklace did I find out that it was, in fact, her birthday. The gift was so simple, so understated, so true. She truly has a heart of pure gold. Instead of throwing a big bash for herself, or demanding an expensive trip to some exotic location, or spa treatments or a new car or really anything for herself, she had opted to do something for the poor unwanted dogs and cats in our community.
I felt guilty. I had spent maybe $40, and fully intended to use the receipt as a tax deduction. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for charitable donations, but just last December I questioned the neediness of the needy. Are they less needy January through November? Why only feel charitable around the Holidays? Charity based on guilt doesn’t feel as good as charity based on compassion. So I vowed to myself to be more charitable the rest of the year. To do more good. The year hasn’t started well.
As my own birthday approaches, I am now planning a similar party, and hope that by this blog I can convince someone else to consider doing the same. It doesn’t have to be the animal shelter. Or your birthday. It can be any charity close to your heart. And any (or no) reason.
Causes Anne Harper Supports
Doctors without Borders. SPCA. American Cancer Society.